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MANAGER: Food for thought

5 February 2014

Graham Kavanagh on the Wigan reserve game and trialists

Manager Graham Kavanagh gave us his reaction to the reserve team Central League Cup game at Wigan shortly after full time on Tuesday afternoon.

“I thought it was a very good workout for the lads,” he said. “Quite a few of them hadn’t played for a while so it was important that a good number of them got 90 minutes.

“The conditions were difficult but both teams made the most of it, which was good to see. It’s hard for us to get the right type of game at the moment because of the way the weather has been. 

“That’s why this one will have done them the world of good and, to be fair, one or two of them have given me food for thought. It also gave me an opportunity to look at Wigan, which was particularly pleasing.”

“The other good thing about the day is that we were able to put our trialists into a match situation,” he continued. “They all approached it in the right way and I now want to have a look at how they are around the club, in training and with the other players. 

“Lewis [Young] has been with us for a while now and he has done well. He’s been good in the training sessions we’ve had with him and we’ll continue to assess that over the next few days. We’ll do the same with Derek [Riordan] and Paul [Reid] and I’m sure we’ll have a decision by Friday.”

“Derek does have quality but he did have that look this afternoon that he needed a game,” he said. “He’s a player who knows what he wants to do around the ball and he tries to get things going. Lewis is one who can play that left sided position, with us having lost Tom [Lawrence], and he can take the game to the opposition and stretch it a bit. 

“The centre half area is one where we need cover and Paul definitely has experience and qualities he can bring. It was made clear that he was available when he was paid up by Northampton and he’s been on our radar for a couple of years. We had him here a couple of years ago when Greg [Abbott] was manager and we’re happy to have another look to see where he’s at. He looked fitter than I thought he was going to be and he could turn out to be a good one for us.

“I’m trying to give myself as many options as I can and I will look at as many people as I can to help me to do that. We are still looking at one or two other options but we have nothing close at the moment. We’re making calls and I’m getting loads of names thrown at me on a daily basis, but none are of the quality I want to commit to. 

“We do need bodies in the building. We only had 17 at the weekend but we do have some good news with Paul Thirlwell and Chris Chantler getting back to fitness. Lee Miller will be back, so it brings it up to 20, but with 18 games to go I feel we need four or five bodies in to give us real food for thought in terms of the selection process.”

And on the return of club captain Paul Thirlwell for his first 45 minutes of action since the turn of the year, he said: “If it had been a better pitch then we would probably have given him 60 minutes or so. I was very conscious that the conditions were heavy so we had to look after that.

“I thought he came through it with flying colours because he was organised and he got about people to keep them on their toes. He kept possession and used the ball the way he always does so it was good for him to get it under his belt. We’ll look at how he is through Wednesday and Thursday because he is going to be a huge player for us over the remainder of this season. It’s good for me to know that he’s come through it and that he feels fine.”

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