Part of the turn of the tide in favour of the Cumbrians on Saturday afternoon, as they looked to overturn a two-goal deficit, was the first half introduction of Brennan Dickenson – a move that proved to be pivotal as he went on to bag the late equaliser.
“Look, Joe has been excellent this season,” Chris Beech said. “He’s a stand-out performer and it was very difficult to make that decision. It definitely doesn’t represent Joe’s contribution to us. We’re better for his contribution.
“I have no doubt he’ll be right at it if he’s available next Saturday. That was just tactics, trying to get some extra width, some power and pace, and looking at how we started the game, a bit of an aerial outlet, and Brennan gave us that.
“Sometimes you can’t make change happen, whatever you do, but it’s about a squad, an energy, and a movement together as a workforce.
“The players substituted and those coming on accepted those decisions, I spoke to them, and they responded with great professionalism getting their opportunity and chance. You can only credit them for that.”
Elaborating on the impact made by Dickenson, who notched career appearance number 250 when he came onto the pitch, he added: “Both Bren and Jordan were a threat, and I was very tempted to start like that.
“As a manager you have all these conundrums and questions, and we decided to stick with our solid midfield three that have been brilliant for us for so long, and of course we wanted more from a front three.
“It offset, Jordan Gibson’s wide, Zach and Tristan playing slightly lopsided. Scunthorpe did great, changed the shape and had extra players inside in midfield, and every credit to them.
“We struggled with that, just because we conceded, and you see a little bit of panic and not too much composure in players that normally have it. That’s why I have to try and stay calm, so you can have that relief, which we had right at the end of the game.”
“Jordan’s goal comes just by being positive,” he explained. “I told Kelvin, you got it all wrong trying to dribble and take somebody on, but the fact he’s been positive, stepping forward, it ricochets and reactions happen.
“Instinctive skill, Jordan Gibson steps up with a great touch and shot, that’s the way he is. He did very well for that. Just before that I asked him, because he’s not played many regular games in England recently, I asked if he’s ok, because I had one more sub left, and he said I’m right gaffer. I’m glad he said that to us because he’s got his reward, and the team has.
“He’s had an impact in all of his appearances now. That’s why we signed him. I’d seen him play for Bradford a few times, kept an eye on him in Ireland, stayed in contact with his agent, and of course it’s great that we’ve acquired his capabilities.
“He’ll grow from this point. He’s somebody on the upward curve, he’ll grow into being better. I still want more from him, but he’ll get supported better on different days, where seven out of your 11 boys are right at it.”
“As for Brennan, he took ownership of the game,” he added. “You hear some shouts initially when he comes on, but he showed great composure, showed a right appetite to get shots off with both feet, and he played with some intent.
“It was the same intent he played with in the previous home game. Now, whether we pick Brennan to play next Saturday or not, we’ll readdress Sutton and things they do. Let’s keep consistent in those behaviours, it stands him and us in good stead.
“The important attributes he has, shooting with both feet, heading, crossing, working back, winning every header on a diagonal, using his chest to bring it down instead of flicking it out of play.
“He didn’t get everything right and there are elements of his performance where there’s opinions about it, but there’s one thing, if you give one hundred per cent, back yourself and crack on, you’ve always got a chance. That’s what Brennan did and what the team did second half.”
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