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Delaney Makes Case for the Defence
Delaney Makes Case for the Defence
Tuesday, 3rd Apr 2012 08:50

Town defender Damien Delaney believes his partnership with Tommy Smith is improving all the time as they develop a better understanding.

But Smith, who turned 22 at the weekend, is out of contract in the summer and has yet to open discussions with the club about a new deal.

Delaney, at 30 very much the senior member of the double act, has been studying the statistics since the pair first teamed up in February.

The Irishman said: “I was looking at it the other day. Tommy and I got together for the game at Portsmouth and that was 11 games ago.

“In that time we have conceded 11 goals. That’s a stat that isn’t bad going. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but it averages out at a goal per game.

“If you went through the season like that you’d end up conceding 46 goals, which wouldn’t be the worst record in the world.

“Look at the top six sides in the Championship and they’ll end up with between 45 and 50 goals against. The promoted sides will probably concede less than a goal per game.

“So to ship 11 goals in 11 games — and you also have to remember that we’re a team that tends to play with all guns blazing and believe the best form of defence is attack — isn’t a bad record.”

Delaney feels Town are now benefiting from the fact that he and Smith have played together for almost a quarter of the league campaign.

He added: “It’s an important factor. At the start of the season, in the first 10 games or so, I must have had about six different partners.

“That was tough because there is a lot of emphasis in the middle of the defence on helping each other out. If someone makes a mistake you are looking for a bit of help and I don’t think that was there earlier in the season.

“If you look at a lot of the goals that went in back then you would see a lot of players with hands on hips, looking at each other as if to say ‘That was your fault’ as opposed to having people help you out.

“I remember an occasion just before half-time at Watford recently when I slipped and the ball went through to their fella. I was thinking it was going to lead to a goal but Tommy was right round on the cover to put in a block that led to a corner.

“Earlier in the year, when someone slipped, it almost always led to a goal but now there definitely seems to be cohesion — that’s the word I’m looking for!”

Photo: Action Images

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roytheboy added 09:22 - Apr 3
Yes I agree, both are looking a lot more dependable in recent matches, well done.

itsonlyme added 09:28 - Apr 3
Yes they have done reasonably well but I am perhaps old fashioned when I say I would rather see a right footer and a left footer at centre half, rather than two left footers (or two right footers).

saffronblue added 09:37 - Apr 3
Whilst they have done ok I think it's more to do with the midfield starting to do their job and the introduction of Hyam and Drury (and more recently an on form Leadbitter)

MaySixth added 09:41 - Apr 3
I agree with itsonlyme. They have done well but I think we need a better balance.

TractorMan added 10:40 - Apr 3
They have looked better, but Delaney has been at fault quite badly for 2 of the goals recently (2nd Peterborough) and 1st Watford goal. In some ways surprised Sonko wasn't given a run out alongside Smith to get the right/left balance back.

Definitely an improvement, but to go up next season we'll need better still!

irishtim added 11:27 - Apr 3
Why hasnt Tommy been offered a contract yet???

DanLyles added 13:06 - Apr 3
I think that playing lots of attacking football without a natural holding man (with the execpetion of when Hyam has played) and with two very attacking full backs, has left our centre backs exposed. Still, I would like PJ to sign two new centre backs and have Smith and Sonko as two reserves providing competition for places. If we want to get promoted we need better than Delaney.

cornishnick added 13:08 - Apr 3
He's certainly hot on his maths is Damo. 11 goals in 11 games "...averages out at a goal per game.
“If you went through the season like that you'd end up conceding 46 goals, which wouldn't be the worst record in the world."

Mark added 13:11 - Apr 3
Delaney makes a good point. I remember being really worried when we were forced to start with the two of them, but they have played (relatively) well together.

Garv added 14:30 - Apr 3
Delaney can be solid as a rock sometimes but then do things that are almost beyond belief (Watford).

Personally think he's a terrific substitute/back up player to have. Maybe more if paired with someone really experienced and solid.

footyblue added 14:38 - Apr 3
But i would say Smith is the senior one of the 2 in a footballing sense, as he plays on the right and more comfortable on the ball

tractorboy2434 added 14:57 - Apr 3
Smith is a good prospect and is worthy of another contract, Sonko is getting on and is injury prone, should be shipped out at the end of the season and another younger CB with some pace signed.

Michael11 added 15:12 - Apr 3
Tommy Smith surely deserves a new deal, far from the finished article but what 21 year old defender is? Hyam needs more than a 1 year deal too.

wideblue added 16:03 - Apr 3
Footyblue - you make an excellent point. Smith is clearly the senior 'partner' as he is coping well on his wrong side and looking to cover the gaps when others get caught out of position.
Personally, I thought Delaney did OK on Saturday, recovering from Middlesbrough not bothering to mark him on Tuesday. I don't see the need to replace both CB in the summer. One senior, preferably right-sided first choice to lead the line is the priority, with some more versatile cover for both sides. Smith has earned his contract and should have it in front of him before it is too late.

Pettitt10 added 16:35 - Apr 3
Sign Smith up, been solid over the past 10 games or so whilst chipping in with a couple of goals too

RetroBlue added 17:12 - Apr 3
There seems to be a lot of "noise" emanating from the players at Portman Road . Strange how they become more focal and report their love for the Club when their contracts come up for renewal. Even more interesting that most of these anxious players , desperate for talks with Clegg and Co, happen to be our illustrious "defence".

tbh apart from Cresswell, Id ship the lot of them out - not good enough , sorry !

s6blue added 18:16 - Apr 3
blimey, del boy can add up

jas0999 added 18:19 - Apr 3
Indeed - much better than PJ's signings - but still not good enough to gain promotion. PJ has to do better.

Keaneish added 22:10 - Apr 3
Any excuse to have a pop at PJ Jas - you bore me to tears...

Would like to see Pearce and another up and coming centre back added to the ranks over the summer. Who that is i have no idea, a scalp from the lower leagues would be good for the budget...

carsey added 22:39 - Apr 3
I'm not Damiens greatest fan but you can't argue with the stats and both he and Smith have improved as a pair. I know fans want an instant fix but it ain't gonna happen so support the players we have.

A reminder to all - ignore jas0999 and he will eventually go away

Morgan added 23:05 - Apr 3
Much improved but I have little confidence in the pairing. A few better games will not undo the weaknesses that have been revealed. Delaney would be a decent squad player on paper but I think he is too effected by confidence and would be better of having a new partner for Smith.

At the moment we are just plugging holes, that pairing is not worthy of a promotion push. This is clearly ours in weakness look at some of the set pieces we have conceeded so would rather do more than paper over the cracks.

Having said all that though well done in your redemption and recent improvements. Happy as always to be proven wrong in these cases

Garv added 01:19 - Apr 4
Good post Morgan agree with most of that but to be fair when was the last time we conceded from a set piece? West Ham I think?

brendanh added 10:12 - Apr 4
Agree it is the best partnership we have. What were you like at Watford though Damien? Iwelumo's biatch. Didn't have the heart for the fight. We are still very disorganised defensively, need a vocal leader who commands respect. I watch Delaney try to call the line at set pieces and nobody takes any notice, we are ragged.

BuckieBlue added 13:32 - Apr 4
Have looked at league table stats and the top 7 have averaged 43 goals against in their 40 games, so our 14 in last 13 games is well comparable. The question is, of course, can that be kept up for a whole season = consistency from CBs plus adequate cover from midfield. Possible....roll on next season!

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