Croft aims to make up for Oakwell miss
Chris Lakey Lee Croft is hoping to avoid an ear-bashing from his manager this weekend by proving that he has finally discovered his scoring touch - and giving Glenn Roeder something to remember.
Lee Croft is hoping to avoid an ear-bashing from his manager this weekend by proving that he has finally discovered his scoring touch - and giving Glenn Roeder something to remember.
Roeder will be watching closely, just in case Croft does what he did at Oakwell last season - and hits the woodwork when he should score.
“I hit the post - and I've heard about that this week as well, don't worry,” said the affable winger, whose City tally of five goals in 95 appearances includes two against Barnsley.
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“I need to make up for that, he says. He remembers everything - he can tell you when it happened, how it happened, but I remember he gave me a bit of stick about it last year - I think the year before I scored so it would be nice to do that again.”
Croft opened his account for the season with last weekend's injury-time winner against Sheffield United, but admits he should have been on target earlier in the season - a fact Roeder made quite clear to him.
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“If there is something that is not right or you miss a good chance or you are not creating chances, whatever the reason he is not one to shy away - he will tell you what he thinks,” he said.
“It is good to be straight up with people, and on the other side of things if you are playing well the gaffer will tell you you're playing well. I think it's good to have a manager like that.”
Roeder himself admitted his delight that it was Croft who popped up with the vital goal last week.
“He's a real smashing lad to work with, the coaching staff really do like him,” he said. “We get frustrated at times with him when we ask him to do certain things and he will do it once and then he will forget about it five minutes later.
“Nevertheless, if someone said to me choose a player to score the goal in injury time that wins the game I would have chosen Crofty, because he has suffered, he really has suffered this year, missing some seriously good chances that could have won the game for us at Coventry, could have taken the tie into extra time at MK Dons and who knows what could have happened then.
“And I let him know, make no mistake about it. He knew my displeasure at missing those chances, so I would have chosen Crofty.
“I am really pleased for him. He enjoys life, he has a smile on his face, he's a good man.”
The smile will be even broader if Croft hits the target again on Saturday, and he admits confidence in the camp ahead of two away matches in the space of a few days is high.
“It looks nice when you look at the table and I'm sure if we win tomorrow we will shoot up another few places as well,” he said. “We need to look forward rather than looking down.
“Going away from home is never easy but we will treat it as a home game, go out and attack and we usually play well at Barnsley. I remember the last few years we have scored a fair few goals there and got a few good results so, then we've got Southampton away - we got a good result there last year and hopefully we can do that again.
“They are under pressure to get a win at home, as we were, and luckily we came out the other side off the back of a good away win and points away from home. Now we have that first win at home which was good and they will be striving towards that I am sure, but we need to make sure we don't allow them to do that.”