My last post started with a pop at Warnock, but this time I’ll do the opposite. During the weekly ritual with Eddie Gray, Colin rendered the phone-in pointless as he so acutely picked his way through every frustration of the twenty-odd thousand fans who grimaced their way through the game, starting with a reference to Robinson’s kamikaze defending and ending with a feeling of despondency over Connelly’s irresponsible late challenge. He simply left nothing to be said. It has become clear the ‘major surgery’ Warnock referred to may extend to those part of the so called big five currently undergoing contract talks – Snodgrass, McCormack, Clayton, White and O’Dea. Losing one or two here for a few million may help Warnock bring in the five or six players needed to lead the charge next year. Even before yesterday’s debacle, Warnock has hinted at some unpopular outgoings in the summer.
Performances across the park were abject throughout. Take Brucey for example, while he deserves some credit for putting his head where it hurt, his lack of presence and composure contributed to a nervous looking defence. Even the experienced Robinson was guilty of a defensive error you wouldn’t expect of a YTS lad. Brown and Clayton went AWOL (to coin Colin’s phrase) and were offered few outlets by the largely ineffective Snodgrass and White. Is ‘Project White: the Winger’ born out of stubbornness from Warnock or are we all missing something only he can see?
Up top, Becchio toiled against a stubborn Hornet back line and his second half effort was sulky and absent. Even on the rare occasions we made some head way out wide, Luciano was nowhere to be found in the box. The only two players who can hold their heads high were Lonergan and Nunez. Lonergan could do little about the opener, but did well against later efforts from Deeney. Nunez meanwhile deserves credit for a lively cameo performance. In a match characterised by poor footwork, sloppy passing and limp finishing, he managed to show a few flashes of the international quality he possesses. This doesn’t mean Ramon is the answer to our ailments – these glimpses need to be sustained over ninety minutes and for a run of games – but he certainly put his name in the hat for a starting spot against the Royals.
So after a month where experience has prevailed, with rejuvenated displays from the likes of Brown, Connelly and Robinson, it seems youth will be making a resurgence against Reading on Friday. Time for Thompson et al to show us what they’ve got.
Reporter Jimmy Neal