WE MADE a few changes to the starting line-up against Walsall in the week and those players who came in have given me real food for thought for Saturday’s game against Stevenage now.
I was speaking to the chairman after the game as he’s away at the moment and he asked me who played badly.
Although we lost 2-1 it wasn’t an easy question to have to answer to be honest because I thought the majority of the team were really on form.
Mads Ibenfeldt looked comfortable at the back on his debut.
But if I had to pick one player who really came to the fore and showed what he could do it would be Jack Payne.
With no pun intended, he was a pain in the backside for them and was involved in three or four of our chances.
He also won the free-kick which led to Ryan Leonard’s goal and if it had been one of our development games then he would probably have walked away with the match ball.
But at first team level I think there’s more desire and commitment from defenders to get blocks in and he learnt that lesson against Walsall.
He’s now in contention for the weekend and I think he could play in a variety of positions.
Jack’s capable of playing as a number 10 or 11 and can also play on the left hand side of a midfield where Michael Timlin normally is.
Jack’s a little fella who finds pockets of space to hurt teams.
I had the same with Michael Johansen when I was at Bolton Wanderers and it’s a great quality to have.
IMPORTANT FOR PAUL SMITH TO GET A GAME
I THOUGHT it was important to give Paul Smith a game in goal against Walsall.
He had a good pre-season for the first time in a couple of years and is match fit so I wanted him to play.
If you’re being super critical maybe he should have done better with the second goal but you could arguably say the same about Ryan Leonard’s effort.
However, I think the pace of both of those shots made them very difficult to save, no matter where in the goal they went in.
REFEREE GOT IT WRONG, IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A RED CARD
I WAS perhaps a little overboard with my criticism of the referee after Tuesday night’s defeat to Walsall.
But I’ve seen the incident, when Lee Barnard is brought down, again on the DVD and it’s a clear goalscoring opportunity.
It wasn’t a penalty but their defender should have been sent off.
The referee also said one thing to me and something else to the players so it’s certainly frustrating.
I would much prefer it if officials just held their hands up to making a mistake and apologised.
DELIGHTED FOR BRITT ASSOMBALONGA
I WAS delighted to see Britt Assombalonga getting a big move to Nottingham Forest.
He was brought to the football club on loan before my arrival but when I was working with him everything about him was top class.
He had real pace and strength and had all the attributes you need to be a top class striker.
Britt also had a great attitude and worked very hard to improve his game.
He thought a lot about what he was doing and I’m so glad it’s gone well for him.
When he was with us he got a new contract with Watford, then got a £1.25 million move to Peterborough and then a £5.5million deal to Nottingham Forest which could raise up to £8million.
Development like that bodes well for our football club but Britt is not the only one to have benefited from a loan spell with us.
Cauley Woodrow went back and played in the Premier League with Fulham and played for England under 21s.
Jamar Loza made his Premier League debut for Norwich, got a new contract and also played Jamaica for the first time.
Rob Kiernan got in to the team at Wigan and it’s great because it means other clubs will take note and are more likely to loan us their players.
SHOCKED AT MARK ROBINS GOING FROM HUDDERSFIELD TOWN
I COULDN’T believe it when I saw Mark Robins had gone from Huddersfield Town after just one game of the season.
Something must have gone on we don’t know about but after seeing his interview after the game I don’t think he was expecting it to happen.
It’s phenomenal really but I’m convinced Mark will bounce back from this.