Only a short piece on yesterday’s 2-1 defeat at Hull I’m afraid as I didn’t even get the chance to listen to the game and can only go by the various match reports I’ve seen and heard. In fact I’ll limit my comments to just three aspects of the match;-
1. Having already picked up two injuries to strikers, the odds had to be well against it happening to a third one yesterday. However it took less than ten minutes for us to lose the player we could least afford to, as Kenny Miller limped out of the game (and, almost certainly, the Scotland squad) with what Malky Mackay said was a groin injury. Desperate luck for City I suppose and despite our one remaining striker Joe Mason, seemingly, giving another promising display and Ben Turner making an unlikely City debut up front as he was brought on late on as we tried to rescue a point, we were always going to struggle to get anything out of the game after Miller’s injury.
The reason I used the words “I suppose” earlier is that Miller left the field with what appears to have been a non contact injury and we do seem to have had an awful lot of them lately – I can think of five in our last four matches and there might have been more (I’m not sure how Lee Naylor, Tom Heaton and Dekel Keinan picked up their recent injuries). Under these circumstances it’s frustrating that, Elliot Parish apart, we’ve not been able to make any loan signings. In these days of blame culture, it’s always someone’s fault when we lose and there have been a few murmurings against the Malaysian investors for, seemingly, not giving Malky enough financial backing – I’d rather wait and see what happens in the remaining six or seven weeks of the loan window before making any accusations.
2. One player’s injury is another player’s opportunity I guess and, two days after signing his first pro deal and eleven days shy of his eighteenth birthday, Joe Ralls, who impressed in his two earlier Carling Cup appearances, got a chance to make an impact on the Championship scene and he certainly did that with what I’d say is our goal of the season so far. Many people all over the country will be getting their first look at Ralls this weekend as his goal is replayed on the television and internet and they only have to see those few seconds of action to realise that the kid has talent – the way he hit the shot with the outside of his left foot marks him down as someone who had the self confidence to know that he could pull off what was a difficult skill. With Malky Mackay praising both Ralls’ performance and attitude in the months since our manager arrived at the club, the youngster appears to have jumped ahead of the likes of Wildig, Farah and Taiwo in the midfield pecking order.
3. Malky Mackay was critical of the officials after the match – in particular with the role of one of the linesmen in a curious incident which saw us first given a penalty and then penalised for offside with the score at 1-1. Apparently, the linesman apologised after the game for not flagging for the offside straight away, but the general feeling seems to be that despite the cock up, the eventual decision was the correct one. However, with our manager also not happy with a decision in the lead up to the winning goal and the refusal of a possible penalty to us in the dying moments after Peter Whittingham’s shot was blocked by what our manager claimed was a Hull hand, it sounds like we do have grounds for feeling hard done by. However, when all’s said and done, what yesterday confirmed is that our manager was right about a month ago when he claimed our squad isn’t big enough. Yes, we have had a shocking run of injuries, but all it means is that we have had early proof of what always eventually became clear during all of those seasons under Dave Jones where we tried to make do with a very small squad – you just cannot do it if you want to be involved in the end of season promotion shake up.