Monday, 19 August 2013

On Ward duty

I was looking very closely at Elliott Ward during the Wigan game. He has been good at times and possibly still adapting to the way that AFCB play, but I was encouraged by what I saw last time out at Dean Court. Pre-match in the warm up Elliott was often seen to be doing his own thing. It was a mental preparation as much as physical in shuffling around, shifting his position from side to side, imagining a player in front of him who he was shadowing and believing he had won the challenge. It may have all seen peculiar to the onlooker, but it certainly got Elloitt's head in the right place for when the game started. 

What a task he has to do as well, no less than mark out the threat of Grant Holt who is a hulk of a man. Holt seemed to have a brutish ambition to put himself about and make life as difficult as he could for our centre halves. But Ward was up to the task and he and Steve Cook really kept Holt quiet while he was on the pitch.  I felt that Ward is starting to feel a part of the first team now and yet it is surprising that the man he is helping to keep out of the starting line up is the captain, Tommy Elphick.

Imagine that squash bottle is Grant Holt Elliott, go get him.
Ward made a great off the line clearance in the Charlton game and he never seemed that rushed in the Wigan fixture except when he took that free kick around the half way line and suddenly decided that Allsop was his best option. I am not quite sure what his problem was in picking out an AFCB player higher up the pitch but it was taking the keep possession at all costs rule perhaps to the extreme. It really didn't go down well with the North stand and I looked towards Eddie Howe to see if there was a reaction from him but he stood as stoney faced as ever not giving away anything. A penny for your thoughts Eddie.

Still as a whole Elliott had no blunders and helped the team produce a clean sheet. I am sure Mr Allsop was grateful of that help after what had happened the week before. Elliott is really starting to look the part as a top quality defender. I want to see him tackle with 100 per cent commitment and see him really love the shirt, but I feel the way he is warming up and taking the game so seriously that he is shaping up to be the perfect centre half to give the team added confidence in big games.  

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