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McKenna on Bonne and Aluko
Thursday, 13th Jan 2022 17:01

Manager Kieran McKenna has praised Macauley Bonne and Sone Aluko, two of Town’s top performers as the Blues hammered Gillingham 4-0 at the Priestfield Stadium last Saturday.

Bonne ended his 10-game goal drought by netting his 12th goal of the season to put his hometown club 3-0 up after half an hour against the Kent side.

McKenna says the striker, on-loan with the Blues for the season from QPR but with Town keen to tie up a permanent deal, will have been relieved to end his wait for a goal but believes goals aren’t everything from his frontmen.

“I think he was happy,” he said. “Strikers, they judge themselves on goals very often and Macauley’s one of them, he’s scored goals right the way through his career, so he judges himself on goals.

“I think for the rest of us, and certainly for me, and I’ve spoken to the forwards about this, it’s very clear for me, I don’t judge the strikers just on goals, I judge them on their contribution to team, how they work for the team, on and off the ball.

“I think over the games that I’ve taken and the games I’ve seen before that, Macauley is an example of someone who has been working fantastically hard for the team, has been ready to put in every inch of effort that he has on the pitch, being ready to sacrifice himself for the team.

“His all-round game has been good, he’s been working hard. For example, the week before against Wycombe, he was involved in the goal that we scored, he was close on another couple of occasions when the goalkeeper made good saves and he was offside for a goal.

“So, for me, the difference between that and scoring one against Gillingham isn’t so great. I’m happy with him in both games, but for him it’s maybe a monkey off his back at the moment and he’s happy to have one go in.

“But I always encourage the forwards, if we’re doing the right things off the ball, if we’re making the right runs, getting in the right positions, certainly with the strikers we have, they have the quality to score goals and the goals will come as a by-product of the work they do.”

Bonne’s goal was the result of a long spell of Blues’ passing, then a sublime through ball from Aluko which played in Matt Penney down the left to cut across to the striker to tap home.

“It was a beautiful pass and obviously a lovely goal,” McKenna continued. “He’s been a joy to work with, Sone, to be honest, what a fantastic guy.

“I’d heard it from different people in the game about what a professional he is and what a good person he is, and I can only endorse that.

“He’s obviously had a really good career to this point, played in the top league, played in different countries and played international football.

“But still you watch him train every day, you speak to him and he’s got enthusiasm for the game, he wants to train hard, he wants to learn, wants to ask questions about different things. He’s a great guy to have a chat with and I’ve enjoyed picking his brain about some of his experiences across football as well.

“Sone’s had a really good impact over the last couple of weeks. Again, he is another one who is fine in different positions and in different ways that he can impact the game.

“It was a really good performance last week and the lovely pass for the goal shows the vision that he has.

“But again, even with everything that he’s done, he works so hard for the team. His reactions are good, his pressing is good and he was there on the second ball.

“So all-round, I’m really happy with him, as we are with the other players. Really happy to have him here. He’s a good influence on the younger players, a good squad man, a good team man and a great one to have around the building.”

Photos: PagePix/Matchday Images

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Cakeman added 17:16 - Jan 13
Great to read these very pleasing and encouraging comment from Kieran.
I think we all knew what Macauley was likely to bring us and he has done brilliantly for us. I must confess I knew nothing about Sone before he joined us but what a tremendous acquisition he has proved to be.
Both these players deserve the highest praise for both their performances and attitude. Very well done and long may it continue.

budgieplucker added 17:19 - Jan 13
And there’s the difference, Cook didn’t want to talk about individuals, it’s one thing what your manager says to you in private which may or may not be genuine but when a manager is prepared to endorse that in public, especially with Sone - that must be worth a lot more to the player and how much sub-conscious extra motivation will that add to the player. Even if it’s only fine margins, it may just be that tackle or that little extra burst and confidence that has an impact on a result.

I can’t help not feeling good about Kieron, I don’t find him boring at all, his level’s of articulation put many in the shade including some who have played for big clubs. I know several are already and maybe prematurely likening him to a Bobby Robson, Sir Bob’s skill was motivating players, I will never forgot the interview with Gaza’s on the day he died, he was almost inconsolable. Good communication and authenticity is so powerful. That’s the way you avoid loosing the dressing room.

Timefliesbyintheblue added 17:22 - Jan 13
A bit of trivia about Sone - he and another player with ITFC connections were in a FA cup final squad. Both played some of the game. Who will get it first without referring to the internet!!!

budgieplucker added 17:22 - Jan 13
Correction… I can’t help feeling good

BurleysGloryDays added 17:23 - Jan 13
Aluko has been wonderful in recent games, his work rate is insane and his football intelligence and football class are so obvious, what a brilliant player he is.

Bonne, same - his strength up front and how he pulls defences around is amazing, we've not had a striker capable of that since Murph. Goals as well, and one of us. Perfect.

Both wonderful additions to the team this season.

We need both firing to keep progressing!

Spine is looking strong at Walton, Fridge, Morsy, Aluko, Bonne. And class players all around feeding, cleaning, causing trouble.


PutneyBlue added 17:37 - Jan 13
You're right BurleysGloryDays, the spine includes Walton and Bonne. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the powers that be at the club bring them in on permanent deals. As it stands, Walton's first game was Bolton at home and his last may be Bolton away

jas1972 added 18:21 - Jan 13
Timefliesby - there were actually three other players with ITFC connections in that squad, all of whom played; although one of the thrree had been subbedoff before Aluko came on. And I confess, I did use the internet!

Timefliesbyintheblue added 18:41 - Jan 13
Jas1972 - well done! I have just looked on the internet as well and of course you are correct. What an interesting cup final that was!!!
Thank you for putting me right - I should not have let my memory take charge!

dirtydingusmagee added 20:00 - Jan 13
when Town showed interested in Sone Aluko many on here were saying no thanks too old ect! he has shown that they were wrong he has imo done very well, and im always pleased to see him in the team .Plenty of football in him still .

RaymondovicBlue added 21:16 - Jan 14
I agree with all the sad truths about cook's shortcomings and apparent stubbornness.

But blimey.... He assembled a rather good squad of players, didn't he?!

bakerblue added 09:35 - Jan 15
Hugely impressed by KM - happy to listen to, and learn from his players. What a refreshing openness and complete lack of arrogance. Until now, I‘be always read TWTD but registered today to be able to comment on KM re Aluko. I’m full of quiet optimism about the future for the first time in an age. COYB!

Linkboy13 added 13:09 - Jan 15
Yes Aluko has been impressive. I remember that horrendous game at home to Bolton when the only good thing to come out of the game was the performance of Aluko. Next game Cook left him out of the team what a tactical genius he was. He must have been some player when he was younger. For me Edmundson has been hugely impressive has he had a bad game. Probably the player we would miss the most if he wasn't in the team who would replace him. Wouldn't be surprised if McKenna brought in another central defender.

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