Tough at the top, and tougher at the bottom - 11/11/2002

Tough at the top, and tougher at the bottom
Nolan - you know what you get from him

Prior to the games with Sunderland, Birmingham, and West Brom, I think most Wandererís fans were looking for at least a couple of wins. Personally I was hoping for seven points. The difference between this year and last is that we managed to keep a few clean sheets last term, our goals tally is also down this year and with stats like that Ė you know youíre in trouble. Big Sam had stated that they were Ďno-looseí games as opposed to Ďmust-winí games, and to be fair, the Birmingham result was the only match where the team lost Ė and that from a game where we had our moments! Having said that, itís three points that the club could do with now. Looking at the fixture list, itís Leeds away, followed by Chelsea at home and City away. All of these clubs have had a tendency to blow hot and cold, letís just hope we hit them on the right day!

Iíd expected a lot from Ivan Campo, and when he arrived I noticed he was a good organiser - an attribute that would serve the club well. Thatís certainly a positive, as is his fighting spirit, but heís given the ball away far too cheaply in a number of games, and when you play in his position, you simply canít get away with it. The Sunderland header was a mistake that cost a goal, but it was just one of a number heís made. Samís also given credit to Campo for keeping his discipline during the heated game at West Brom. Well to be honest, he could well have been sent off. After an early booking he seemed to contest a number of decisions and must have walked a tightrope when he berated both referee and linesman. Heís a player whoís class is without question, but silly mistakes and poor discipline donít do him, or the club, any favours! Weíll see what happens when Gudni Bergsson returns to fitness, but one things for sure, we need to tighten up at the back, and with Bruno NíGottyís imminent suspension, itís not going to be easy.

Iíve also got my concerns about the midfield, in our position we need more than flair, but with both Okocha and Djorkaeff playing together, I think itís a luxury we just canít afford. Itís not that either are playing badly, I think the Frenchman is doing very well and Okocha has shown signs of late that heís the player his reputation points to. Iíd be playing Nolan, you know what the lad will give you, and you know heís also capable of getting on the scoresheet. Yes heís young, and I know Sam will say he canít play in every game, but heís a player we need in the side.

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