Winger Reggie Lambe was a missing ingredient at Chesterfield last week having been called up to captain his country in a friendly fixture against Barbados.
But manager Keith Curle admitted afterwards that he would never ask a player to choose club over country, particularly when the added honour is to lead the team out wearing the armband.
“I don’t think you would ever stand in the way of a player going to play for his country,” Curle said. “Reggie is their captain and that’s a massive honour. You won’t find me getting in the way of that.
“There are players who have opted to stay behind on occasions, and Reggie has been one of them, but that’s usually when the country has made it clear that it’s a training camp or the friendly they’re playing is for them to look at other players.
“Reggie was severely missed on Saturday,” he admitted. “That’s because he’s been a huge part of the way we’ve been playing in terms of having natural rotation in the opposition half. Take a player like that out of there and it allowed them to flood the area and stop our other players from making that kind of impact.
“We tried to keep the same mentality by playing Danny Grainger higher up the pitch on the left-hand side. He gave us decent balance, but what you lose with the way Reggie plays is the rotation in movement amongst your midfielders.
“We got to a point in the game where we needed to be able to change it, so that we were more of a threat, and that’s why we brought Richie Bennett on at half time. We kept at it so that we could get a real foothold as an attacking force in the game.
“With the benefit of hindsight, I know people are asking if we could have approached it a different way, particularly with knowing that Reggie was going to be missing, and I do value those opinions.
“There are always different ways you can play, and I don’t mind being criticised because this game is about opinion. I respect that, but it’s down to me to pick the team I think will get us the result on the day.”
With a run of home games coming up we spoke again about the importance of consistency and the need to turn draws into wins at Brunton Park.
“The real sense of disappointment at the moment comes because I think we’ve shown enough recently to have gained a bigger points haul,” he commented. “Sometimes it comes down to how you manage that disappointment. Wins have been there for us, but we haven’t seen it over the line.
“What we don’t do is hide from that. We need to keep our focus and belief and keep working hard. We have a number of home games now and if we can get wins from them the whole picture changes again.
“We’ll go from having had a stuttering start to the season to an above average start, but to get there we know we need to be winning these games at home. We’ve shown an ability to score goals and we’re giving ourselves a platform, but I do think we still need more numbers in terms of quality within the squad.
“There are wins in this team because the performance levels have been decent, but you would probably say that Saturday was our least effective performance when we had the ball. Having said that, we still did enough to score two goals away from home.
“We know we can look at a number of games and say that points have gone astray. We’ve had a few draws and what we need to do now is start to turn the leading positions we’re getting during games into victories. We’re doing a lot of things right and we know it will come.”
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