Defenders off the hook
With competition for places now fierce within the first team line up, Big Sam has outlined his reasons for the non-inclusion of Steven Taylor and David Rozenhal in the team on Saturday. Far from being their own fault, Sam has said he himself is to blame for trying to foster the battles for jerseys he hopes will make us a top four team. The gaffer said:
"David's done nothing wrong at all, and Steven Taylor hasn't done much wrong either, and he didn't get on the subs bench. That's a measure of what I've been trying to get in terms of the squad. Keeping them all fit's been a problem, but once they all do get fit then it's going to be a battle for the team and the subs bench, and I think that's really healthy.
It's going to frustrate and upset a few players, but if we're winning games of football - and that's happening - they have to accept it. When they get in the team, they have to fight to keep the shirt. That grows the spirit and culture of the club, and it grows the desire to play with that shirt and not give it up. That's what a manager's really looking for.'