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INTERVIEW: He just wants to play

18 October 2013

Graham Kavanagh on Pascal Chimbonda

Manager Graham Kavanagh spoke to us about recent signing Pascal Chimbonda. 

"I obviously played with him at Wigan and Sunderland so I know what he's capable of," he confirmed. I've seen a real positive change in him over the last week, he's come in and been a breath of fresh air. He's been excellent in training this week in terms of his energy levels and he just wants to play football." 

"He's been playing in non-league to keep himself fit and not because that's the level he should be playing at," he continued. "I spoke to him on Sunday and he flew over from Paris on Monday morning. We did some fitness testing on Tuesday and I was actually surprised with his levels of fitness. It will take him a few games to get his match fitness and be fully fit, but I think he's got the ability."

On the length of the deal, he added: "It's just three months at the moment and that suits both parties. He's had a great week of training but three months will give us and him a chance to evaluate the situation. If he uses this as a stepping stone then I've got no issues with that, but I've asked him to be honest with us." 

"He's got international experience and he's been on the bench for a World Cup final," he said. "He was telling us a few stories from the final yesterday and it was a really interesting insight into the level he's played at. He brings a massive amount of experience into the team - people will look at his age but he's in great shape physically. 

"That means we have another body in there to challenge for places and it keeps everybody on their toes. The lads in the team know they have to be at their best to stay in the team because there's somebody waiting to take their place. 

"He'll be in the squad for tomorrow's game. It will take him a while to get up to speed but I think, in that area of the pitch, it's probably easier to get through a game. There aren't many times where you'll need to do long bursts of running, or box-to-box sprints, so I can't see there being any issues with him playing." 

"He's played predominantly at right back but he's also very capable of playing at centre half," he contineud. "He reads the game very well and he's got a good leap on him, so he's good at set pieces at both ends of the pitch. This will be a new experience for him but he's arrived with the right mindset.

"There are similarities with when Ian Harte arrived, and if he makes half the impact he did then we'll be very pleased. Pascal has a similar level of ability to Hartey but I think he's a little bit more mobile and flamboyant. 

"Pascal has adapted well to every level he's played at. He arrived at Wigan from a difficult situation in Bastia and he couldn't even speak our language. He picked it up very quickly and he was in the Premier League team of the year in the 05/06 season which got him a very good move to Tottenham."

"The biggest thing for me this week was to make sure he was in the right mindset," Kavanagh told us. "He needed to accept that the players here aren't going to be as good as the level of player he's played with in the past. That's no disrespect to our players, that's just the nature of the game."

"This does mean that we're very unlikely to get Troy [Archibald-Henville] back, simply because we haven't really heard anything from that. He's had a scan, which came back inconclusive, and we just couldn't keep waiting. That's why we felt we had to act and we're delighted that Pascal has joined us."

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