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Right Back Is Not A Priority

Right Back Is Not A Priority

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.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

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Writer:Mike Field
Date:Thursday January 17 2008
Time: 6:51PM


okay, well that really does scare me if i'm honest! i think we desperatley need a RB!
17/01/2008 19:18:00
As good as he is, you can just tell that every team that plays us they see that he aint a recognised RB and same with Craig Gardener, in the prem its a fine line between success and failure and they always seem to go on the attack towards mellberg, and whenever he goes forward his crossing is not that of a natural RB, but fair play to him I think he's done well, great professional. Sad to see him go just when its looking good at villa
17/01/2008 19:40:00
The main point is I think that there aren't any good fullbacks available who are ready to move or who being allowed to move by their clubs. To be honest if we have a right sided midfielder in front of Melberg/Gardener I don't see it as a problem. Our defense is better this season than it kas been for some time. Remember Melberg has played right back for his country and has throughout his career played there. He is still much better than Bardsley and a thousand times better than Hughes who I thought was dreadful. What Melberg lacks is forward pace but maybe with Defoe playing as a striker and Gabby on the right Melberg will stay back and won't need to go forward. It might not be ideal but I havn't heard of a right back who we could bid for and who is available.
17/01/2008 19:48:00
Not surprised though at MON's comments. We should know by now that he has his target(s), and refuses to settle for second best and look elsewhere, if those on his radar are not available. He's obviously convinced that we can meddle our way through until May with Olof and Craig. I'm not so convinced. Still, he's the boss, not I.
17/01/2008 19:51:00
yeah true, and MON wants quality in the team, which has been proved all season, got rid of dead wood, ok its a small team but its quality rather than quantity(Although I know injuries etc) but he's building a team, a quality addition here , another one there, have to be patient untill they come up
17/01/2008 19:51:00
I think to be honest, Mellberg is doin a good job, I dont mind if we dont get a RB now, sod it, see how it goes for the season
17/01/2008 19:53:00
17/01/2008 19:56:00
17/01/2008 20:01:00
I dont think he has had a right back since he has been here let alone this season. The top teams have left and right backs who can contribute to the attack. Mellberg and Bouma are solid but they are no Evra / Micah richards.
17/01/2008 20:33:00
I think full back is a major problem area if we are to progress 'to the next level'. Olof and Wilf are very good defensively, BUT if we are to genuinely compete with the top 4 we need full backs who are comfortable in possession and offer attacking options. too often werely on the long ball into carew and play off him. We need the option of the keeper being able to give the ball to skillful full backs so we can build from deep. In the short term a natural right sided player (like Milner) would solve the problem with a solid full back behind him (like on the left with Wilf and Ashley) BUT i think in the longer term we need new full backs. Disappointed we have missed out on Diarra and Matt Taylor. I trust in MON though, he will get it right.
17/01/2008 20:54:00
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