Writer: Mike Field
Date:Thursday January 17 2008
Speaking to the Express and Star today, Martin O'Neill explained that although not ideal, he would be happy to go the rest of the season without a recognised right back.
Whether this is because he has so far failed in his searches, or he sees it as less of a proirity because of Mellberg and Gardner I don't know, but it's certainly cause for concern.
"At this minute, getting what we`d call a recognised right-back is a thought but it`s not as overwhelming as you think.
"I`m sure everybody would feel it`s something we`d definitely look at, but it`s not overwhelming in that sense.
"Getting this squad up to scratch in positions is obviously something I`d like to try to do, if I can.
"I`ve been particularly pleased with Olof Mellberg and obviously Craig Gardner when he`s gone there.
"In fact because Craig played there for us, he actually got picked for the England under-21s at right-back. He got picked on that strength.
"Craig likes to play and while he`s obviously a midfielder going forwards, he can give you the option of getting forward.
"Defensively he`s not as sound as Olof, but we`re trying to improve his game and I`ve been really pleased.
"Olof has played there and in an ideal world he`d want to play centre-half, but he went without questioning it.
"He`s adjusted and scored a couple of goals for us as well. I`ve been very pleased."
The E+S point towards Jose Bosingwa and the £22 million price tag as being the likely reason for the statement, along with failures concerning Justin Hoyte, and Pascal Chimbonda. Arsenal aren't receptive to any deal, and Spurs will only sell once they have a replacement apparently.
I know Mellberg has done a good job, but despite that without a natural right back we will continue to be unbalanced - that said we aren't doing too badly.
Date:Thursday January 17 2008
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