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MANAGER: I thought the changes would add something different

Paul Simpson on a strong finish to the weekend game

26 September 2022

Club News

MANAGER: I thought the changes would add something different

Paul Simpson on a strong finish to the weekend game

26 September 2022

Manager Paul Simpson has talked on a number of occasions about the importance of substitutes being ready to play their part, whatever stage during the proceedings they happen to be introduced.

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Corey Whelan was a prime example of that at Rodney Parade, but honourable mentions also go to Jayden Harris and Sonny Hilton, who injected a renewed sense of purpose when they came onto the pitch with just over 20 minutes left on the clock.

“Sonny got his head down and he gets into really good positions,” the gaffer told us. “He’s threatening to be a really good player at the moment.

“I want him to take that next step and go and actually do it. He’s got so much ability, enthusiasm and we just need him to completely click.

“There was one moment on the edge of the box where under normal circumstances he goes for it. I’ve seen him for years, I remember working with him with the under-16s, and he smashes the ball with that right foot.

“When he gets it right the ball wobbles all over the place, he has the knack of being able to do that. He dinked a little great ball into the far post as well, and I just think he’s waiting to take off. 

“Maybe I’m to blame a bit for that because he hasn’t had a run of games. But the players who are playing deserve to be. Sonny’s just got to do that little bit more to force his way in.

“He’s just got to have a bit more belief in himself. He’s got probably the best set play delivery you’ll see when he’s on song. Little things like that are not quite right for him right now.

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“If he can just have a little bit of momentum, maybe I have to play him in games to give him that, there’s definitely a good footballer in there and somebody who’s got a real infectious personality and character about the way he goes about it.

“He just needs to really take off and hopefully we’ll see more from him.”

“Jayden is another who adds and brings energy,” he continued. “The big thing we were lacking was energy about our play, but I gave it a bit of time to see if it was going to change.

“I thought sticking Jayden and Sonny on might give us something different. I took Jordan off because I wasn’t prepared to take the gamble, I thought he was running the risk of picking up a second yellow and I didn’t want that to happen.

“He was still causing issues on the right but I took him off and Sonny came on and caused a few problems and was positive in running at their full back.

“Jayden gives us a bit of physicality and some legs in there. It was a case of trying to get more from them, and we could smell blood and we thought we had a chance of getting a win out of it. It just didn’t quite happen.”

Match Reports


24 September 2022

Following his efforts in the Fleetwood game on Tuesday, it was almost expected that striker Jack Stretton would get the nod if Omari Patrick was deemed to be not quite fully ready.

“Jack deserved to start after the other night, I thought.,” the manager confirmed. “He didn’t really get any joy, I thought he was harshly treated in the first half by the referee, there were a couple of times where their centre backs had him round the neck and it was given against him.

“He’ll benefit from being out there, and if he has to go again on Tuesday hopefully he’ll be fresh and we’ll see. He did ok without really looking like he was going to score.

“I certainly think it was a tough game for him to come into but he absolutely worked his socks off and I took him off just to freshen it up a bit. He looked shattered doing the recovery runs. He’ll get another chance and hopefully it’ll be a better day for him.”

Other more subtle changes came in the shape and within the roles certain players were asked to complete, with Jon Mellish once again pushed higher as the game went on.

“He just gives you energy,” the manager said. “That’s what we needed. I do think our system suits us when we’re on it. The system in the first half wasn’t our problem.

“The fact we couldn’t get around the pitch or pass the ball properly was. Systems are one thing, it’s how players go about it. We had an overload in midfield with our three in there, so they changed and went with a number 10 sitting around Callum.

“We didn’t make that count. We had the two against one overload on our right with Gibbo and Fin, but we didn’t make the most of that. We had times when Mellish and Armer were giving us an overload on the left, and we got glimpses, but you’ve just got to be more clinical than we have been today.

“We have to be better moving the ball and certainly more energetic, which is what Jayden brought to it, Sonny brought to it, Nic didn’t have many opportunities but he came and did a shift when Jack was tiring. Lots of positives but also things I’m going to keep saying, we have to be better.”

“I hope it’s the first few minutes of a long career for Nic as well,” he concluded. “He’s another player who did well the other night to come into our thinking.

“Let’s be truthful, if Omari and Tobi and Ryan were fit, Nic maybe wouldn’t be involved. He has to grab this opportunity while he can now, see how long it is for those three to come back. If he does enough to stay involved, fair play to him.” 

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