JOHN McGINLAY: Never write any player off when confidence is all they need
11:00pm Thursday 7th March 2013 in Sport
IF Tuesday night’s game taught us anything, it’s that you shouldn’t write anyone off.
Chris Eagles has put up with a bit if stick recently but it was great to see him bounce back with a goal to beat Blackburn Rovers. What a confidence boost it will be for the lad.
Good players don’t turn into bad ones overnight. Chris might have been going through a bad patch but when that happens you really need everyone to stick by you.
Not even Lionel Messi can get through a season without having a little downturn; it’s just not possible. You have to work very hard at your game just to stay at a good level, and when things do drop off, it is then a test of the manager and the coaching staff to spot it, pick you back up, and send you off again.
It does help when the supporters are behind you, and I hope that happens for him now because all along I have said he’s a game-changer. Yes, he’s a confidence player, but then show me a footballer who isn’t to some extent.
It’s for that reason that I think it will turn round for big Kevin Davies too. He hasn’t scored for a while and things have been getting on top of him a little bit. Including Kev from the start might have surprised a few fans.
It didn’t turn out to be the best kind of game for him, to be fair. Blackburn had been played off the park by Peterborough the previous game and had obviously had their backsides kicked. They turned up to stay solid and sit back, and there wasn’t much room for anyone. They stifled the game and that made it frustrating at times for the strikers. But Kev isn’t alone. Everyone who comes into the team now knows they have got to play at the top of their game to keep their place. And even that might not save them, because the manager has shown he is willing to change a winning team if he thinks it’s the right way to go.
The main thing is every player on the pitch is looking over their shoulder and knowing that they have to step up. That has been a big factor in this good run, and it’s not a bad thing at all.
LOOKING at our midfield against Blackburn Rovers made me wonder, will Dougie Freedman strengthen while the going is good?
There has been a lot to admire in the last few weeks and you can see the confidence has come flooding back in certain players during the current four-game winning streak.
Chung-Yong Lee is getting better with each game, Darren Pratley looks full of energy and I like what I see of Medo, pictured.
But with Mark Davies out of the picture do we really have the guy to unlock defences in the same way? I think the answer is probably, no.
Davies was the creator in the middle and we missed him a lot when he was out over Christmas and the New Year. He’s someone we turn to when we need something to happen, and he is clever enough to try something different.
Chungy and Chris Eagles are definitely capable but you wonder whether the manager will look to bring in someone a little bit different to try and see him over the finishing line.
Medo made his debut against Rovers and though he was a bit quiet initially, I thought he found his feet in the second half.
He had the shot that came back off the keeper that Chungy put wide and got through a lot of work against the ball that people sometimes don’t notice.
He and Jay Spearing are obviously the ones who will pitch in with that kind of defensive work, and I think Pratley has done well in recent weeks too. He is capable of breaking through but he isn’t the same type of player as Davies, who is a bit cuter with the ball.
I’m sure someone will fancy their chances of stepping up and filling the “Davies” role. Perhaps it will be Stu Holden, who will be itching for his chance.
When you are winning everyone wants to be on the ball, so maybe someone will come in against Brighton and save the club the job of loaning someone in? Nothing would surprise me with things going so well.
PEOPLE might say the last time we won four in a row, as a Premier League club in 2006, was a greater achievement – but I’d dispute that.
You can get little pockets of games in the top flight where you can put runs together and where you target a certain number of points, but I don’t think you can do that with any certainty in the Championship.
Top to bottom, teams are beating each other every week. This is a difficult league, no doubt about it, so to get on a run like this, the first time in seven years, is terrific.
Gus Poyet’s Brighton stand in the way of five in a row and might feel like they owe us one after we snatched a draw at their place earlier in the season.
They are a well-organised team who have made themselves hard to beat. But I think they are a different prospect away from home. I think they are beatable.
Our lads will be desperate for the next game after winning so late on against Blackburn. They would have played the next morning.
As I said last week, once you get on a roll you can be very difficult to stop. And we are on a roll.
ADAM Bogdan’s injury could have been a big blow for us on the eve of the derby – but Andy Lonergan definitely stepped up to the plate.
He made one unbelievable save from Jordan Rhodes in the second half and showed a good understanding with the back four.
That all underlined what we had seen in the cup competitions. He’s a good keeper, so we won’t need to risk Adam’s groin problem by rushing him back too early.
PLANS for the White Hot 2013 reunion night are going strong and we have now got our website up and running for those who want to buy tickets.
All the up-to-date information is on bwfc-whitehot.co.uk – and we hope to have a few more photos and details in the next few days and weeks.
Meanwhile, me and Tony Kelly will be out in town tomorrow night, but I don’t think he knows what he has got himself into.
We’ll be appearing at The Bar on Nelson Square to tell a few stories and have a few laughs, all at Zico’s expense, you understand.
If you fancy a laugh, come down and join us. We are on from 7.30pm, and with the excellent Colin McGreavy as compere, it should be enjoyable.
For tickets contact 07875 698710.