Assistant manager Colin West gave us his reaction to the reserve friendly victory over Gateshead at the International Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
“We wanted the game because a lot of our lads needed to get the minutes under their belts,” he said. “We can do as much training as we want to do with them but there’s nothing better than playing in a competitive fixture. That’s why this was ideal for them.
“Obviously we have the likes of Kelvin [Etuhu] and Jason [Kennedy] who’ve been working their way back to full fitness but it was just as important for all of the other lads as well. With Kelvin he hasn’t been available to us because of the injury he picked up in pre-season so it’s good to see him come through this feeling ok.
“He’ll get a rest tomorrow and we’ll see how reacts. I think he’ll be more than happy with having played in a game where he had to extend himself, stand up to the physicality of the opposition and make runs in and behind their midfield. He’ll have enjoyed himself, I have no doubt.”
“Credit to Gateshead because they were a very competitive opposition for us,” he added. “I knew that would be the case. They had some lads who needed pitch minutes as well so they gave us a very good game.
“It was one of those games which was always going to be a test, without it ever being silly. You don’t want to be coming away from games like this with injuries and cards, but you still want it to be between two sides who want to win.
“We scored some very good goals and we saw good movement from our wide players in our build-up play. There was some decent football and that’s exactly what the manager likes to see.”
On the brace bagged by midfielder Samir Nabi, he said: “I’ve actually just had a laugh and a joke with him in the dressing room because I had a go at him when he missed a very good chance in the Morecambe game recently. I’ve been ribbing him a little bit about that ever since.
“He got two in this one so he’s coming right back at me and telling me he can score. I’m really pleased for him. His second goal came from us feeding the ball through the middle and Samir is great at working his feet quickly. He saw the opportunity and he took it.”
And on the impressive tempo adopted by both teams during the game, he said: “It’s probably what we wanted most from it. We didn’t want to see players just going through the motions. We want to see the tempo we keep talking about and we want to see them trying forward passes and progressive movement.
“We had three trialists in and that helped because we were lacking in numbers in certain areas. It was ideal that we could have them with us and for us to be able to take a look at what they can do.”
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