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MANAGER: Trying to get the goal

Keith Millen on Joe Riley and team selection

30 January 2022

Appearance time for midfielder Joe Riley has been limited since picking up a shoulder injury in the home victory over Walsall in November, but manager Keith Millen confirmed that he’s still very much an option, with the search for an effective method of creating and scoring goals remains a top priority.

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“We knew what Sutton were and you’ve got to stand up to them, and that’s why we picked the team we did, but we never stood up well enough,” he said. “Second half when we did start playing a bit, I agree, someone like Joe Riley, I tried to get Lewi on just to try and get someone maybe who’d look like they might score a goal.

“That was the thinking. We did have pressure, so it was trying to get people on the pitch that might create or score a goal. 

“With the way Sutton play, I’m not sure Joe would have won many headers, but first of all you’ve got to win the first header and second ball, and then you can play.

“I agree Joe’s a good footballer. In the first 45 minutes of this one there wasn’t a lot of football played from either team. It was a fight, and a fight where we were second best.”

“I decided to get Dynel going in his first game for the club,” he added. “I felt with Sutton being Sutton, Dynel being Dynel, in what I’ve seen of him, it was a good time to play him.

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“I know he’s not match fit, so I knew it was a little bit of a risk. We’ve brought him here because he’s big, strong, aggressive, first contact defender, and he will get better.

“I was pleased generally with him. A couple of mistakes that he will make as a young defender, but he will get better for us without question. It was tough decision to leave Morgan out, but I just wanted to see Dynel and I felt we needed his physicality for the game. 

“It was a rude awakening for him and a real welcome to League Two. I felt it would be a good start for him to try and really get used to competing. He’ll be better for the experience without a doubt.

“He tired a little bit at the end but he will get better without a doubt. He will adapt to what’s needed.”

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And on Tyrese Omotoye, who partnered Jon Mellish up front on the day, he commented: “The chances aren’t coming for him but it’s a consequence of the team a little bit.

“This is young players. I know he hasn’t played three or four games on the spin in his career yet. That’s the market we’re in a little bit, you’re not going to get the finished article. Tyrese isn’t the finished article.

“He’s working hard, trying to work his game out. He’s trying to work out his best game in a team that’s struggling to score goals. It’s a difficult environment for him.

“Like all young players, I’ll have to judge when I need to take them out. Morgan Feeney’s played 11 games on the spin and he’s never done that before. You have a lot of young players learning their careers, how to build a career.

“The young players are developing and sometimes, like Sam Fishburn, all of a sudden he became our main number nine as an 18-year-old. It’s not right, is it.

“Look at Sutton, there’s not many 18 to 20-year-olds in their team. That’s the sort of market we’ve got so it’s not going to be perfect.”


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