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Fat Barman

Favourites, or motivators?

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The debate about Worthy''s favourite players (Holt, Flem, Green, Ashton,

Hughes, Hucks, Drury) is possibly not focussed on the right area.

Could it be that these are the players he relies on to keep the rest motivated once they cross the white line?

For all his faults, Gary Holt kept all those around him committed to

the cause, likewise Flem is a constant talker to the rest of the


More recently, Hughes has shown his abilities as Captain may well

outweigh his other skills - was he more a Holt replacement than Francis?

Against Coventry, we showed the fight required to recover from an

atrocious opening. Fleming, Hughes, Ashton and, to a degree Thorne all

dug in and demanded the same from the others. Conversely, against

Derby, there wasn''t the same leadership in defence, or midfield and we

were rolled over embarassingly easily.

This is only a suggestion, but isn''t it the case that what we lack is

not a spine of talent in the team, rather an absence of a spine of

commitment to the cause? Worthy was criticised for the lack of

creativity last season when he kept his trust in those he knew would

keep going to the death (with the obvious exception of Francis!).

Trying to keep a core of winning mentality players has proved

impossible, hence the calls for a Malky, or Iwan-style player - it''s

not their ability that''s missing, it''s their whole-heartedness -

unfortunately not a quality that can be coached into a player

and one that is difficult to assess until times are tough. Some players

have been found out.

Ashton suggests that some players don''t play as asked by the manager.

Of those that will, too many are injured, or out of form, to make the

necessary changes.

I believe that there is a strong core of support for Worthy amongst

''senior'' pros at the club. His problems lie elsewhere. The dressing

room is more split, than lost, with regards to Worthy. The fans are

siding against him, the Board for him. I can''t forsee an easy end to

this situation - either Worthy goes, or he gets the ''missing'' players

back on his team. I suspect a resolution by the end of the F.A. Cup

game against the Hammers. This may not be soon enough for a lot of you,

but even the Board will find it hard to back a manager if, as seems

likely, no improvement is seen by then.

I''m a born optimist (fool, if you prefer) and can still, just, hope for

a miraculous turn around with four league wins and a fourth-round

cup-tie to look forward to by the end of the first week in January! If

it hasn''t happened, I''ll accept it''s not going to improve without

managerial change. Even the best intentions can''t save Worthy if he

can''t pull off a Christmas miracle and that would leave a

caretaker/replacement 3 weeks to wheel & deal before the window

slams for the rest of the season!

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A couple of points if I may.... firstly, a lack of commitment to the cause is a side effect of cramming as many loan players in to the team - and that it a side issue to a lack of planning in close season when we allowed more out than in. It is also a sign that those brought in to do a job are not good enough. (Remember how any World XI always struggles against a good side)

Secondly, Saturdays dire performance was at the end of a week where everything was done to boost squad morale (bowling etc)

Thirdly, the whole notion that the players are not doing as they are told is hardly new, it started last season with Fleming sitting far too deep, and our defending from corners was dire despite constant training on this.

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TOODC - we''ll just have to disagree on our personal opinions of Flem & Hughes [:)]

I remember Hughes'' sublime, chipped cross for Ashton''s goal against

Palace and his goal against Luton. Besides which, the team appear to

play with more energy with Cap''n Andy on the pitch.

With regards Flem, I acknowledge his best days are behind him - his was one of the ''loss of form'' entries in my original post.

Rossi - IMO close season was a disaster, but not of Worthy''s making.

I''ve referred before to his stated aim to increase the squad size and

replace any departing players. In both of these areas he was thwarted

by a combination of short-sightedness by the Board (not allowing a

Francis replacement approach until after the sale was agreed) and lack

of funds (he was only allocated cash generated by sales). You may say

he should''ve hung on to more players, but which, apart from Edworthy

and Crow were ''let go''? The others chose to accept offers from outside,

they weren''t encouraged to leave. That leaves Eddy as the only

questionable release. The only remaining way to try & boost squad

numbers was to enter the loan market - within this area at least two of

the players (Dav & Etuhu) were attempted to be brought in before

the season started, with agents & other clubs muddying the waters

to stymie those efforts. I still think there are players about whom

enquiries are ongoing with a view to further activity in January -

obviously not being talked about to avoid potential interference from

other parties.

The point about Saturdays performance is well made, however I feel that

the morale-boosting efforts were cancelled out by injuries & Hughes

suspension again leaving too few leaders on the pitch, too many quiet

men, too many scared to take responsibility and, yes, too many new

faces once more. Ideally no manager would have two new boys in central

midfield, with a strik partnership in only it''s second match together,

second choice left and right backs and third

choice left and right midfielders. Tell me exactly how you think

Worthington was responsible for the unavailability of all the first

choice players in these positions?

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I can see where you are coming from for this particular game (Derby.) However,we only had our 3rd choice left mid on the pitch because he failed to pick 2nd choice (in my opinion) McVeigh. We had to play Hendo on the right because of Marney''s injury true, but that hardly happened recently and we managed to bring in other players for different positions well after Marney''s injury. We played two new boys in the middle true - but Hughes would have played instead of Hendo as 2nd choice Right Mid and Saf played 45mins anyway. We also had to do this because Jarrett (again bought by worthy) is not upto the job in hand. Further to this Worthy could have selected Rossi Jarv (who hasn''t looked out of place.) We used 2nd choice RB because a) Eddy went and b) we had to bring in another 1st choice RB because Colin (bought by Worthy) is not up to the job in hand. As far as Drury is concerned, well he started, and I would argue that Charlton is probably 2nd choice left back (where he played most of his prem career) but he seems to be a midfielder all of a sudden (when in favour.) You mentioned a strike attack in only it''s 2nd game. Incorrect.

You may argue that Worthington made it his aim to increase squad size - but he was suitably happy enough to have said that the squad is stronger than when we went up, and for Capt. Clapper to say it''s the best in the league. Why would we, at the start of the season have any trouble attracting players to the club ?

You said, " ... short-sightedness by the Board (not allowing a Francis replacement approach until after the sale was agreed) ...where is the evidence to suggest this?

There also seems a notion that injuries are ''bad luck.'' Some would say that persistent injuries over a season and a half could be rather more than a touch of bad luck. Some would say that training methodologies are to blame.


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Unfortunately you can''t pick and choose which players are available to

bring in on loan - by all accounts it''s taken nearly half a seasons

work ''behind the scenes'' to get Etuhu & Robinson here at all.

Jarrett''s not good enough, but he certainly seemed the part at Wigan,

who were keen to keep him, I recall. I too would like to see the likes

of Rossi J & Mick Spillane given a chance. Sorry about the attack

mistake - it was their third start together, still Ashton should be used to adapting to new strike partners by now, shouldn''t he?

Most people still seem to think it looks like a strong squad, just a

small one too. The problem has been keeping a consistent team selection

and loss of confidence. I don''t know why we would struggle to attract

players in August. The best suggestion I have is that too many

Premiership sides were also very busy. Spurs bought about 15

midfielders, Wigan & West Ham were active too, as was McCarthy at

Sunderland (to little effect, despite his buys seeming good ''on

paper''). The result remains that we''ve been forced to try and arrange

loans and this has proved difficult.

The evidence of "...short-sightedness by the Board" came from an

interview with either Munby or Doncaster in the local press. In

supporting Worthy it was stated that he was given a transfer budget

made up only of money raised through player sales. Thus the money was

there for a Morrison bid only after Francis left. I''m sure Worthy

would''ve loved to get a straight replacement but none were available.

The interviewee said that, with hindsight, it left too little time for

a deal to be brokered, but that they had hoped to convince Francis to


According to the club physio, the training regime is the same as the

season we went up, with virtually no injuries sustained that year. Was

it good luck then, or bad luck now, either way it seems odd to blame a

training set up which hitherto had caused no problems.

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