Hutchings Pleased With Defensive Pairing
Friday, 17th Feb 2012 07:30
Assistant boss Chris Hutchings was pleased with the way Town’s two left-footed central defenders, Tommy Smith and Damien Delaney, performed at Portsmouth as the Blues gained a rare clean sheet in their 1-0 victory.
Hutchings said: “They played well. You say that ideally you wouldn’t have two left-footed players but if you went through a lot of the teams in the Premier League, Championship and the other leagues, you have two right-footers playing together at the centre of the defence and no one says a thing about it. It’s just that these left-peggers seem to stand out a little bit more.
“Tommy, the younger one of the two, played on the right-hand side and he acquitted himself very, very well.
“He’s just got in the side and we’ve moved him out of his favoured position to play on the right-hand side. We take our hats off to him.
“Damo came in and did very, very well and I’m sure they’re looking forward to playing together and playing against Cardiff.”
He says the Blues had been playing decently enough in the weeks prior to the current three-game winning run, but defensive errors had let points slip: “The last few defeats that we had, for 60 or 70 minutes we’d been playing very well. Last minute goals and horrendous mistakes had cost us games.
“That’s what it is at the end of the day - you make mistakes and you get punished. In the last couple of games, we haven’t made too many mistakes and we haven’t been punished.
“On Tuesday night down at Portsmouth, a couple of bits of hesitancy led to them having their best chances but thankfully they missed them. We’ve got to make sure we shut up shop as we did on Tuesday night and be strong at the back.”
Those last minute goals and horrendous mistakes have seen Town throw away plenty of points and have meant the Blues have spent most of the season at the wrong end of the table. The three back-to-back wins have eased fears of a relegation battle but the season realistically seems unlikely to bring anything better than a mid-table finish.
Hutchings says Town won’t be the only ones ruing earlier failures at this point in the season: “There’ll be many, many teams saying the same thing. If we hadn’t conceded last minute goals against Forest and others we’d have another six points in the bag, or certainly three of four, and you’re just off the play-off places then.
“But there are plenty of games to go and we’ve got to make sure we continue our current form. The players have to keep working extremely hard, as they are doing, taking nothing for granted, and we’ll see how far we can go.”
In terms of targets for the season from this point on, the assistant boss says he and manager Paul Jewell are only looking as far as Saturday’s match against Cardiff: “The next goal is to win the next game. That’s the most important one, and to keep our standards as they have been recently. Hopefully keeping a clean sheet, building on that, and developing as a team. How far that takes us, who knows? How long is a piece of string?
“In saying that, we’re confident in ourselves, the players are confident and we’re looking forward to it.”
Photo: Action Images
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