Writer: Mike Field
Date:Wednesday July 23 2008
After having a somewhat inconsistent and 'homesick' season, Shaun Maloney is hoping to get the chance to build on his performace against Walsall last night.
The diminutive midfielder scored twice against Walsall and by all accounts looked pretty lively and he's hoping he has shown enough to be included in the line up for Odense.
The rumblings of a return to Celtic still haven't gone away but we haven't had a 'I miss my deep fried Mars bars' interview for a while, so hopefully he's a bit more settled now. It will certainly help if he gets a run in the team - we all know he has the talent, but question marks remain if he has the strength for the Premiership.
Speaking to the official site, he said:
"Fingers crossed I can play a part against Odense.
"The boys played pretty well in patches in Odense so I think it will be difficult to break into the starting line-up for the second leg. But I`ve done all I can so hopefully the manager knows I`m ready if the call comes.
'Saturday is a great opportunity to move closer to the UEFA Cup but at the same time we can`t afford to be complacent.
'I think we saw in patches over in Denmark that they`re a decent team. They`re not bad going forward and they`ve got a goal threat. I think we have to be wary of them but with the quality we`ve got, hopefully we`ve got enough.
'It was said to us before last weekend`s game that, even though it`s InterToto, that`s what we worked all last season for.
'We were unfortunate to finish sixth and not qualify automatically for the UEFA Cup but we`ve still got the chance and it`s a massive incentive."
Maloney was delighted and impressed with the performance against Walsall, given the fact a number of the squad were out of position and the rest were on the youthful side.
"It was a pretty decent run out for us. They played some decent stuff as well and tried to have a go at playing some decent football.
'We were a little bit disappointed to be going in 1-0 down at half-time because we created quite a few chances in the first-half.
'But thankfully in the second-half we turned it round. So it was a good 90 minutes to get under our belts.
'That was my second free-kick in pre-season but hopefully I won`t use them all up in friendlies. Hopefully I`ll score a few in the League or maybe even this weekend.
'For my second goal it was a good shot from Moustapha Salifou. We know he can hit them. I just gambled on the follow-up and luckily it bounced right for me.
'The winner was a great goal from Wayne Routledge. Zoltan Stieber put in a great ball as he made a good run from left-back and I always fancied Wayne to put it away. It was a good finish.
'We haven`t had the best of performances or results in recent pre-season games.
'It was a young team last night but it was stressed before the game and at half-time that although it was a run-out for the fitness, winning is a big part of it. Thankfully we did that."
The stars of last nights show were undoubtedly the two Nathan's, Mr Baker and Mr Delfouneso, so I wouldn't be surprised if we see slightly more of them as the season progresses.
Date:Wednesday July 23 2008
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