Don’t follow Oatway for tips!
Charlie Oatway faced the press again this week in the pre-match press conference for the game against play-off rivals Leicester City at the Amex tomorrow. The fact that the Foxes are struggling to even get into the play-off slots has completely shocked him. “They were my tip for automatic promotion this season – more so even than Cardiff,” he said. Well, I suppose they did look good earlier in the season, but since the transfer window and the arrival of ex-Brighton loanee, Chris Wood, their form has been relegation.
On to Brighton and Bruno is still unavailable for selection but there is real hope that he will be back to play some part in the run in. Wayne Bridge took a knock on Tuesday night, but it is not expected to stop him from playing, more a case of taking care of the old guys.
Oatway continues to hanker for his playing days, saying that the pressure is easier to deal with for players as they can get out there and focus on what they have to do. As a coach, all you can do is make decisions, yell instructions hope for the best. But he does cite a team of ‘fantastic men’ in the dressing room and with all the experience washing around in there, we can hope that nerves won’t be the cause of not making the play-offs this season.
Oatway is also adamant that not making the play-offs should not be seen as a failure by the team. I have to agree. We have fought hard to get into a positive position, but with plenty of very good teams in the mix, anyone could come with a run (although realistically only Bolton and Leicester could overhaul us now).
Despite Charlie being impressed with the other big names in this league, I think it is fair to say we have more than held our own and while it would be by no means a failure to miss out on top six – in this current situation it would certainly be disappointing.
The cliche of every game is a cup final works for Oatway on this occasion and he rightly says we also have to start winning some of them. Leicester’s approach may be less positive that it might have been had we taken three points against Charlton, but they will still be a tough proposition and victory would be the furthest stride yet in our march to the play-offs for only the third time in our history.
I suspect we will see another positive team – although Vicente may struggle to start having played the full 90 on Tuesday and Kazenga also saved for some impact subbery if we need them in the second half.
Calde, GG, Upson, Bridge
Buckley, Spanish Dave, Orlandi