SkyDaz Bolton Preview

By Darren Porter
Last updated : 17 November 2005

Let’s be honest. I’m trying really hard to be positive. The season is well under way and the adrenaline is brown and smelly.

Newcastle away at long last brought some promise. No points but some promise.

It’s a start.

It really is.

I’ve put my Coldplay cds into storage and at the moment D:Ream is telling me that things can only get better. It’s just a short step to ‘Wake Up Boo’.

The Toon Army mugged us of a point. Ok that solitary point would not have made our overall position look any better but it would have given everyone a happy warm feeling. The goal simply left us all thinking that maybe Lady Luck did genuinely dislike us. The bitch.

It felt good to walk around meeting other fans who commiserated that ‘you were unlucky’ and that ‘you played well’. Despite the platitudes no one was prepared to approach sour Souness and ask him to donate one of the points that he had stolen. You can take the Scouse out of Liverpool …..

But at long last we could clutch the straw that we did actually play well. Was it simply the elevation of Kilkenny to the starting line up? Are Newcastle just a poor side? Who knows? Who cares?

Young Kilkenny is a dream of a player. Sod all that protecting him malarky. He’s a damn fine player, ask him what he wants to do? I bet he wants to play.

Certain players in the world are genuine centre midfield quality. I don’t mean the Ronaldinhos, I mean the ball carriers who do the simple things. Take the ball off the back four, ferry it to the midfield, shuffle it to the forwards and occasionally get into goal scoring opportunities. There were two recent international examples of players exhibiting their skills on a world stage and both against England albeit in friendlies. For Denmark Thomas Graveson was poetry in perpetual motion and Argentina’s Riquelme was the best player on the park in Geneva by a Swiss Alp. Both were constantly demanding the ball from team mates, one touch to control and one to pass. Then they moved back into a position to receive the next pass. Roy Keane does the same job for Manchester United. Kilkenny can do the same for the Blues.

Link him up with Dunny, Jiri, Butt, and he will be a star. Not since the days of Mark Ward have we had a player who wanted the ball so much and distributes it so well. I was fortunate enough to see him play pre season in Stavanger and was immediately badgering everyone about how good he could be. We need him now, not when it’s too late.

Once again a blank in front of goal and a suspect piece of goalkeeping cost us three points. Think Arsenal, Everton and Newcastle. We looked comfortable in all three games until a harmless shot bobbled into the back of the net. As I have often stated we don’t score anywhere near enough goals to be charitable. Once we concede a defeat is always likely. Taylor is a quality keeper but maybe it’s time to let Nico back in, he deserves his chance. There’s nothing wrong with competition for places.

The Sky cameras have been unkind to us this season and commentating on defeats to Arsenal and Blackburn have been as much fun as inserting a rocket up the rectum. There has been little to cheer for us poor suffering fans. A home match to Bolton would seem the perfect opportunity to reward the hordes who could do with some festive cheer. I know it’s a bit early for thinking about Christmas but some folk have already got their decorations up!

Those with tickets for the first few rows might want to think about moving back a touch. You don’t want to be within spitting distance of the pitch.

Apparently Bruce is happy with 4-5-1. I don’t care how he lines up as long as it makes sense, not only to me but to the players who have to make his system and tactics work. I hate the long ball up field to the solitary striker and so surely the idea of five in midfield is that they can interplay and interlink with the forward. Isn’t it?

Too often the temptation is just to hoof the ball long and let Heskey sort everything out on his own. It doesn’t work. Get over it Bruce. Get closure. The four defenders fannying about with it before rolling it back to Taylor to launch upfield for Heskey to wrestle with two gorillas is not an entertaining spectacle. Rip that page out of the book and colour in a new one instead.

Start tonight. You’ve had a long break, got players back fit and have a home game against a side that likes to play football but are there for the taking if we desire it badly enough. Do we?

I’ll be live on Sky screaming in a camp voice for the warriors in blue to give me something to drive home happy about. The rest of you will have to get your prayer mats out, cross your fingers and kick a black cat. Come on you Blues. We need those points.

Keep Right On and I was joking about the cat. Kick a ginger one instead.

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