I was pleased to read that captain Matt Gill has continued his comeback from injury in a reserve team game with local rivals Bristol City this afternoon. We lost 2-0, but score-lines in reserve team games such as these are meaningless, as it's all about providing game time for players such as Gilly who are on the comeback from a long-term injury.
He didn't play the full 90, but it's encouraging to know he's near to fitness now and is in a position where new manager Mark McGhee can select him if he wishes to. I think we've really missed having him within our starting 11, but recent performances from Andy Dorman, Craig Stanley and Eliot Richards suggest that they are settling together in the middle of the park and, as a result, we're seeing positive results. Dorman goes about his business quietly, efficiently and without fuss, which is why many people don't notice him during games - those who have played football themselves at any level can see that he gets the job done and as he showed on Saturday, he can supply assists too. Stanners is a combative centre midfielder who tries to keep the ball moving. He endured a difficult and frustrating start to his time at the club, but his recent displays seem to have won over the majority of Gasheads and he now seems to be enjoying his football a lot more. Richards is a versatile youngster who is predominantly an attack-minded forward. However, he has recently been used as a midfielder within our 3-5-2 formation (with wing-backs) and has adapted well. His striker's instinct was evident against Cheltenham as he followed up a shot from Chris Zebroski to poke home and double our lead, so that aspect of his play has created some spark to our offensive play.
Gill brings something different to the side though, a bit of extra quality. His niggling injuries have hampered his influence on our games so far and it has meant he has only appeared on 18 occasions. In flashes, he has proven why he was a popular figure among the playing and management staff at Norwich City, with a superb range of passing and a tantalising delivery from set-pieces. These qualities can supply goal-scoring opportunities, something Scotty McGleish and Zebs would thrive on. He would strengthen our current midfield, of that there is no doubt, but the question facing McGhee is whether or not to replace players within a winning side.
We're unbeaten in 3, having won back-to-back away games. Within that time we've also shut out two of the league's best sides in Crawley and Cheltenham, registering two clean sheets - something we couldn't buy for love nor money pre-Christmas. It's encouraging times and something I'm sure McGhee will be desperate to maintain and improve, but it's up to him whether he reintroduces captain Matt Gill to the line-up in place of a current star performer in our big home game with Bradford City this Saturday.
Decisions, decisions! I don't envy MM, but trust him to make the right call.