Paul Dickov looks at Saturdays game
What did you make of the game and the result?
I thought it was a scrappy game, it was hard for both teams to get the ball down and pass it. We know they are a good team who are on a fantastic run so defensively we had to be solid and I thought we were. Over the course of the 90 minutes I thought we were the better team, but a draw is probably a fair result.
It must be pleasing to have 3 clean sheets on the trot at home?
Definitely, 3 clean sheets in 4 games is great and that’s what we’ve been striving for in a long time. A lot of credit has got to go to the back four, but I think as a whole the team are working hard defensively and that makes it difficult for the other team which is one big positive for us because I think 5 or 6 weeks ago we would have lost that.
We felt that once we got our injuries back and with that experience back in the side and the players who have come in, not just Meite and Tamas, but getting Billy (Sharp) back and re-signing Richie Wellens, we felt that we could compete at this level in football. We showed that in the first 12 games of this season and it was important that we got the players back. And when you talk about players of their calibre it boosts confidence throughout the whole team and within the fans as well. We are now going into games with the belief that we can pick up points, which we’ve shown we can do.
On new goalkeeper signing..
He didn’t have too much to do, but I’m pretty happy with that to be honest. Sam is a goalkeeper that we know a lot about. We’ve been watching him for a while in case anything happened to Ross (Turnbull). For the last three or four weeks Ross has been playing through the pain barrier for us. He has been suffering with a calf strain and through compensating for that his other calf is now suffering a bit as well. So through the advice of the specialist he needs a few weeks rest which we will give him because we don’t want to lose him for the rest of the season.
Manchester United have been fantastic with us allowing us to bring Sam in. He is going to be a top goalkeeper and someone who United rate really highly. he is the England under 20 captain and has just signed a three and a half year deal at United. They don’t give those sort of deals out to their kids if they don’t think they will be top class in the future.
Did Paul Keegan pick up an injury?
Keegs felt his thigh before the game so we just had to monitor him a little bit. He was a bit restricted first half so we just wanted to make sure he was okay. He’s been fantastic since he’s been back and we really missed him when he was out, so we didn’t want to make him any worse. We’ve done it as a precaution because we thought it was the right thing to do rather than put him back out there and make an injury worse that doesn’t need to be. We will assess it on monday and see how he feels, but the good thing is that he got through 45 minutes without any real damage. Him and Richie have been fantastic in the midfield, but if other players get their chance then they have to take it. With Richie suspended for a couple of games allowing someone else to have a chance and they have to take that.
On Richie Wellens..
Richie is suspended for 2 games now after picking up the yellow card today. It’s a bit of a blow because a lot of our football is directed around Richie and that’s how we play. But what it does do is give somebody else a chance. With the squad I’ve got now it’s probably the strongest it has been for a while, so somebody else can come in and do that job for us. We knew Richie wasn’t going to go the rest of the season without picking up another yellow card.
Harry (Forrester) is back at the specialist again on Tuesday so we’ll see how he gets on and hopefully it won’t be long before he can get back in the side.
What did you make of the Chris Brown chance, were you worried that was the chance to take the game?
Well we restricted to Middlesbrough to very few chances but one thing we do know about them is that they are a very good team and are good going forward, especially on the break. We know that they are a real threat and they caught us on the break twice, which we were a little bit lucky with but I thought overall we created the better chances and looked a little bit more threatening.
Browny was unlucky. People will look at the chance he had and think it was a sitter but he was at full stretch to get something on it. From the fans point of view that was probably the best bit of football of the game and to be honest I think that was mainly down to the weather conditions.
The conditions were horrible for both teams, you just had to look at the goalkeepers kicks and the distance on them, it was hard for both forwards and defences to judge the flight of the ball.
Where does that leave you now going forwards?
Lots of positives. We’ve had 4 games unbeaten and 3 clean sheets and as I’ve always said- we believe that we can compete at this level. We have a really tough game away at Brighton next week, and then obviously Barnsley and Yeovil which will be massive games for us. But one thing we can do is go into these games knowing that we can compete and we can pick up the points because we’ve shown this in the last few games and played some great football.