Fleming is going the right way

Nigel Worthington has paid glowing tribute to the seemingly ageless Craig Fleming after another rock-solid outing from the club skipper in that troubled right-back berth.

City boss Nigel Worthington today paid glowing tribute to the seemingly ageless Craig Fleming after another rock-solid outing from the club skipper in that troubled right-back berth.

Indeed, in the eyes of more than one national newspaper, Fleming's performance in his makeshift defensive role even overshadowed Darren Huckerby's thrilling efforts in Saturday's 2-0 win over Derby County and he was named man of the match.

“Craig's done very well in there - he's adapted very nicely,” said Worthington, after the arrival of the on-loan Zesh Rehman meant 34-year-old Fleming was able to rediscover his younger days at Oldham Athletic, when he was a regular right-back under former Latics boss Joe Royle.

“It wasn't too far in the dim and distant past - I can remember playing against him when he was playing right-back under Joe Royle for Oldham,” said Worthington, recalling his own days as an attacking left-sided defender for Sheffield Wednesday.

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“So he's well capable of doing it and, as I've said, he's come in and over the course of three games in a week done a very good job. He's been very solid - and that's something we've been looking for.”

Worthington's other big quest has been to unearth a team that actually stays the same from one game to the next. With Fleming and Gary Doherty losing count of the number of different defensive partners they have had before Saturday's excellent shut-out against the Rams, the fact that City have been able to field the same back four for the past four games - complete with back-to-back clean sheets- has put everyone in a very positive frame of mind ahead of Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace.

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“It's always very handy to have that scenario,” said Worthington. “And one that, through many different reasons, we've not always had this season.

“To have an almost full complement of players to select from - right through the first eleven and on through the bench - is a big, big help.”

As is the return to full health of midfield powerhouse Dickson Etuhu. The former Preston man failed to make the bench against Derby because of illness, but he is now on mend and Worthington expects him to be available at the weekend.

“Dickson had a virus over the weekend and it was still in his system on Monday so that is why he wasn't involved in the reserves but he should be fine for Saturday,” said the City boss.

BloB City scholar Matthew Halliday has joined Nationwide Conference play-off hopefuls Hereford United on work experience for a week.

The 19-year-old central defender will train all week with The Bulls, currently third in the Conference table, and was available for last night's home game against Aldershot at Edgar Street which the hosts won 2-1.

Academy manager Ricky Martin said the week with Hereford would be good experience for the third-year scholar.

He said: “A scout spotted Matthew playing in the reserves' recent win over Watford. This week of work experience will hopefully prove useful in his on-going development as a player.”

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