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Just like making my debut again! - 16/08/2004

Just like making my debut again!
   Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink
   Aaron Hughes
   Andy O Brien
   Titus Bramble
   Newcastle United

After spending so much time out of the first team picture, it felt as if I was making my debut all over again. Last season I did make a number of squads and sat on the bench a few times, but there were times that I thought that I'd played my last game for the club. I'd known for a few days before the Boro game that I was starting and this gave us a little time to prepare. We'd played a couple of practice games with Aaron and I as the centre-backs, and to be fair I know Aaron's games inside out - I've seen enough of him from the bench and on the training pitch to know what he does and know what he doesn't do! A lot of people didn't rate our chances as a defensive unit, and although we conceded two goals, I felt that we held our own.

On a personal note, I was pleased to put in a performance that, aside for the nerves in the opening minutes, was relatively successful. Although I was nervous before the game, it could have been worse. Expectations weren't high, everyone knows I'm a left-back and in this respect the pressure was off. My family are also away in Portugal this week, so I didn't have to worry that they'd made it to the stadium and collected their tickets etc etc. Having said that, knowing that the game was live on Sky, that we'd be up against a determined team, and with Hasselbaink making his debut, it was never going to be 'just another game'.

I'd played for the reserves at centre-back on quite a few occasions, and ironically there were times when I'd thought about seeing Tommy Craig to ask him not to play me there. I'm a left back, and I'd considered that it was at left back where I'd have the best chance to get back into the team.

The Boro game was also a case of showing other clubs that I'm still around, and hopefully any watching teams will bear in mind that I'm more comfortable at full-back.

It may be a fleeting come back though, it looks like OB will back for the Tottenham game, whereas Titus' position is a little less clear. Nevertheless I'm hopeful of a position on the bench and if I get on, then I'll be happy to play anywhere.

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