Bolton Wanderers skipper Zat Knight determined to keep his place in the team
WANDERERS club captain Zat Knight hopes defeat on his return to the starting line-up against Huddersfield on Tuesday will not hamper his chances of another appearance against Doncaster on Saturday.
The 33-year-old was back as first pick in the heart of the defence for the first time in almost two months but could not help prevent a 1-0 home loss against the Terriers.
Knight was naturally disappointed with the result but satisfied with his own personal performance alongside in-form Matt Mills.
He said: “It was good to be out there but obviously disappointing with the result.
“I was happy to get 90 minutes under my belt.
“Hopefully, I can have a run in the team now.
“I have to feel ready and get my mind right so if I am giving a chance, I don’t throw it away.
“I felt I did myself justice on Tuesday and hopefully I can stay in the team.”
Praised by his manager last week for his professionalism, despite being resricted to substitute appearances in 11 games prior to his recall, Knight admits it has been a tough couple of months.
But he insists being one of the more experienced members of the squad has altered his approach to selection setbacks.
He added: “It’s been a tough 10 or 11 games for me.
“I’ve been on the bench kicking every ball and heading every header and sometimes chipping in trying to give the manager a bit of advice.
“That’s just my nature, trying to offer experience to the boys and push them on a bit.
“Sometimes you have to hold your hands up when you are out of the team and others are playing well.
“Maybe if I was a bit younger, though, I would be knocking on the gaffer’s door every day.
“If I was 21 or 22 maybe I would be playing up in training, turning up late and acting up but I am more experienced now.
“When you get a bit older you understand if players are doing well they keep their place.
“I am not selfish, we are a team and I am the club captain.
“I have been giving encouragement to Matt (Mills) and Tim (Ream) every game.
“If they do well, I am the first one to pat them on the back and give them a hug.”
Pats on the back were most likely in short supply after Tuesday’s disappointment when Wanderers wasted a hatful of chances before being hit by the sucker-punch in the shape of Oliver Norwood’s stunning winner.
In-form front man Jermaine Beckford wasted the best late on, just as he had at Middlesbrough three days earlier in another 1-0 reverse.
But Knight is backing Beckford, and the team, to respond against Doncaster at the Reebok on Saturday.
The big defender said: “I said at half-time, we could be our own worst enemy and could see it creeping in.
“We had some good chances, especially with Jermaine at the end there. He should have put that in the back of the net.
“I think he was maybe still a bit frustrated about missing the penalty at Middlesbrough.
“He needs to brush that off and go again because he has been doing really well for us.
“We all need a massive performance on Saturday now.
“This time last season, come the turn of the year we went on a fantastic run and hopefully we can do that again and start even earlier.
“If we can get into the top half by the end of January then it would be fantastic for us.
“Then we can try to kick on and get in the play-off positions.”