Date: 18th December 2008 at 10:45am
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Future bright for fringe stars
Several fringe players came in to the Pompey side for the game against Heerenveen yesterday, and they did not let Tony Adams or us down, and as he told the Pompey site after the game…

The likes of Hermann Hreidarsson, Noe Pamarot, Richard Hughes and Kanu are all out of contract in the summer, while loanees Armand Traore and Nadir Belhadj return to their clubs at the end of the season, other fringe players Jamie Ashdown and Marc Wilson also came in and none let us down – more of the same and they will stay: ‘I was delighted. I asked them to be more resilient, to die for the cause, to get back to clean sheets.

‘That was their task for the day – to throw their bodies on the line, which they did.

‘Hermann was magnificent, Noe and Richard Hughes, too. I’m also absolutely delighted with Marc Wilson. I asked for a fantastic defensive display and I got one.

‘A lot of them are fighting for new contracts as well, which is great, and that’s a real positive that they responded like that.

‘If you can call upon those kind of players to do you jobs then they are good club men and you give them contracts. I would give them contracts for sure and it’s great they responded.

‘The way they did that was outstanding.’

I thought that Hreidarsson was fantastic and his goal was well earned and well deserved – he cleared up everything at the back, yet still got forward enough to cause problems in an attacking area, even from a central defensive role. He did a job at fullback last season, but I still feel that he has always been better as a central defender – even though he has not played there that often. I would have no problem with him stepping in for either first choice central defender if required – and maybe, as they have not exactly been at their best, he should… Still, at his age I am not sure we will actually keep him for next season? Besides he will want to be playing more than he is.

Pamarot did ok, and cleared up well at times but there were a few times when he went in for the challenge but maybe half hearted – if he is going to go in and step out of defence to make a challenge it needs to be made or you are left exposed, which did happen occasionally… To be honest I am still not entirely at ease with him in the side and I would not give him a new deal.

What can you say about Hughes – you always know what you are going to get from him and the captains armband took him to another level. He might not try the extravagant, but keeping it ‘simple’ is not boring is it! If you cannot do it do not try it, and he rarely will if he knows he cannot do it… You cannot tell me he has not earned himself a new contract in recent weeks? If he cannot get a new deal there is something very wrong as he is everything that you want from a true squad player, and more…

Loanees Traore and Belhadj, well there is not much to add is there really – if we can sign them it is a no-brainer, and the Algerian surely will sign in January for sure. The Arsenal man maybe not so…

Kanu, what can be said that has not over and over before? Yep he has quality about him, and again showed that at times last night, but the fella does not offer enough to be kept and surely this season is his final as a Pompey player…

I do not think that Ashdown is out of contract in the summer, so the only reason for him to go is if he wants to go – which to be honest I would not blame him if he did as although maybe not the greatest keeper he does probably deserve to be the no.1 elsewhere, as it is not likely he will be that here?

I have been ‘giving it all that’ about Wilson for the best part of a year – in the pre-season FourFourTwo interview given in the summer anyone that saw this might remember I had him as my ‘one to watch’… Whilst I must admit that I feared his real chance might never come, I was delighted to see him start. His delivery was fantastic, and although young and still with something to learn could he offer us any less as a right midfielder than those we already have? Defensively he still has something to learn, but he can and I am sure he will!

Plenty of positives came out the game, a clean sheet was the real bonus – and boy was it needed. Those that came in showed that they can do a job and certainly played themselves back into Adams’ thoughts, if they had left them?


the future is bright for Wilson!
Speaking of Wilson – as I have above and did to just about anyone that was listening last night, and in fairness so were they to me, people that I bumped into around Fratton that I knew invariably had his name on their lips when we spoke – he has been tipped for possible stardom by Adams, when again speaking to the Pompey Site.

He was, again like most of us, more than pleased with his showing – although he sees him more as a central figure in the future: ‘I was delighted with Marc Wilson. I think he’s got every chance. He’s two-footed, can head the ball and is quick and strong.

‘He put in some tremendous crosses from right-back, but I do see him as a centre-back. I think he can do it in the Premier League as a central defender.’

Whilst I would like to see him hang around and maybe feature in more games for us this season this seems unlikely so a loan move to a lower league side looks the order of the day – and that would be better than playing reserve football, and it looks like happening: ‘he needs to be playing every week. Unfortunately I think the best thing for me to do with him is to get him out on loan, maybe to a Championship side. I don’t think reserve-team football is probably good enough for him to learn his trade.

‘He’s that close, but obviously at the moment he’s not better than Glen Johnson, Sol Campbell or Sylvain Distin.

‘His attitude is fantastic. He wants to train and is the first one out and last one in.’

If it was me I would maybe send him out on loan for a couple of months and if possible, if in a position to do so, give him a run towards the end of the season perhaps?

His delivery was fantastic, measured and precise almost every time and more goals should have resulted from his delivery – be that from the left or right boot! This delivery and apparent ability to pick a pass, and he pulled some out that I just did not see on – not that I am a football genius of course – makes me think that an attacking fullback, or maybe even right sided midfielder would be ideally suited to him?

Thoughts on all please guys…


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