DID you talk to Avram Grant last Saturday? What did you make of him and were you surprised John Terry and Frank Lampard didn’t figure against Olympiakos after playing against us?
I did get the chance to have a chat and a drink with him, and he was very complimentary about the club as a whole, the players and the way you, the supporters, got behind the team, which was nice to hear.
He said he was impressed at the way we had a real go and also the tactics we employed, which he said were better than some of the other Premier League teams have come up with!
I was a little bit surprised about Terry and Lampard missing out in Greece on Tuesday, but then the whole line-up was different to the one on duty against us last Saturday.
It just goes to show what a strong squad they have, and it wasn’t easy trying to figure out who they were going to play against us!
That made getting the tactical approach right in terms of stifling them that bit more difficult, so it was doubly nice to hear Avram’s praise.
I think we’ll all be taking an interest in what side he puts out against Spurs in Sunday’s Carling Cup final!
IN interviews during the build-up to the Chelsea game, Frank Sinclair said he was in talks about a new contract. Has there been any progress?
We have had some preliminary talks, and they are due to be resumed soon.
I am pleased with the way Frank has been playing recently, and while he is 36, both he and I feel there are a few more seasons in him yet.
He’s a great professional who looks after himself well, and recent games have shown that while he has bags of experience, he still has that bit of pace too. Not too many get past him!
GIVEN Danny Cadamarteri’s appearance for the reserves on Wednesday, when will he be in consideration for the first team?
Hopefully sooner rather than later!
Danny had half a game for the reserves against Stoke on Wednesday, and wanted to stay on for longer, and while he had a little bit of reaction in his knee, that’s not too much of a surprise given the time he’s been on the sidelines.
We’ll monitor how he copes with training, and hopefully he’ll have another run-out with the reserves away to West Brom on Tuesday.
Unfortunately David Mirfin had some back trouble during Wednesday’s reserve match, which is why he was taken off before the end.
He’s had a niggle for a few weeks now, and has been having acupuncture in a bid to ease the pain.
Our physio Lee Martin is assessing his condition, and at this stage, it’s touch and go whether he’ll be available against Gillingham.
JAMES BERRETT has made his mark this season, but what’s happening with the likes of Malcher, Bailey, Young, Racchi and Tom Clarke? Are they anywhere near the first team?
Ideally we need to get some of the lads out on loan, and at the time of writing this column, we were completing the deal for Tom Clarke to go to Halifax for a month.
Lucas Akins, who played for the reserves against Stoke, appears to have benefited from his spell at Northwich, and we’ll be taking a close look at him in training and second-team games over the next month.
All the other players you’ve mentioned also figured against Stoke, and while Matt Young and Danny Racchi have flirted with the first team this season, neither have been able to tie down a place.
Luke Malcher has been injured and is working his way back to full fitness while Mitchell Bailey is working hard but is not yet ready for the first team.
The fact that reserve team football doesn’t seem to be quite as high-tempo as it used to be doesn’t help the younger players who are desperate to gain experience, and that’s why loaning them out has become useful.
On that subject, Shane Killock, our young centre-back, made his second appearance for Hyde on Tuesday.
The scoreline of Hyde 4 Vauxhall Motors 3 doesn’t suggest either defence was dominant, but I’m told Shane has really impressed in both the matches he’s played so far.