Injured Kennedy made of right stuff

David Cuffley City boss Glenn Roeder saluted defender John Kennedy for being "made of the right stuff" after he soldiered on with an ankle injury for most of Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Bristol City.

David Cuffley

City boss Glenn Roeder insisted his second-half substitutions against Doncaster were justified after sections of the home crowd booed the decision to replace winger Lee Croft with David Bell with nearly half an hour to go.

There were three changes in all with centre-half Gary Doherty first to make way for John Kennedy, and Wes Hoolahan withdrawn in favour of Jamie Cureton late in the game after the Canaries had fallen behind.

Roeder said all three players were looking tired.

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"I was absolutely amazed at the reaction when Crofty came off," said Roeder. "Crofty has been fantastic but he was looking tired in the game today - he was. That's why the supporters sit where they do. That's why as the manager I sit, or stand most of the time, where I do, because they are the decisions I have to make. But obviously, people are not recognising what's happening out there.

"He was looking tired. And we needed some fresh legs, some impetus, and make no mistake, Belly's got real quality. You saw some of the crosses, some of the passes he made today. He was influential when he came on.

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"But it's not a problem for me. I'm not making a big thing about it. I was just amazed that people hadn't recognised that Crofty was starting to look tired. He was fabulous in midweek but you just don't live on one game. If things aren't going well, just because you were great in the previous game doesn't entitle you to stay on for 90 minutes.

"And if you want to get to the nitty-gritty, the bottom line is the decisions I made were right because we won the game. That's the bottom line."

Doherty, playing for the third time in eight days after a three-month lay-off with an ankle injury, was withdrawn after 57 minutes.

Said Roeder: "Doc was magnificent at Bristol City. He came back two weeks early from the long-term injury he had. He did ever so well through the game, he played on Tuesday and I thought he was outstanding with Dejan Stefanovic on Tuesday.

"I was a little bit concerned, like I was with Wes, that those two players hadn't played a lot of first-team football. "The first few games you get through on adrenalin, but then it hits you and I thought Doc looked tired. I didn't think he was making mistakes. I thought he was looking tired and he was at full stretch more than he needed to be at full stretch. There is John Kennedy, who is fit again now, who I have huge confidence in playing from the start or whether I put him on - again, fresh legs."

Roeder admitted City were below par compared to their 5-2 midweek victory over Wolves.

He said: "We had a lot of flat performances out there today. Players didn't play as well as they did against Wolves. Sometimes that is to be expected because we had a few players that came in against Wolves that hadn't played much lately and there was a little bit of rebound. They looked tired. But the one thing is, I will accept that we didn't play well, but I will argue with anyone who said the boys didn't give their all. That is the reason we won the game, because we never gave in. We kept trying. When we conceded a hotly-disputed penalty, that actually put us into overdrive.

"No one dare accuse the players of not trying to do something about it when things weren't going their way.

"They showed an awful lot of bravery. I have played with, managed, coached many players who, when things are going poorly, they hide and there wasn't one player out there who hid today.

"I'll have an argument with anyone if they say we were lucky. I'll say we didn't play well, but we earned the win because of how much we kept going and showed an awful lot of bravery when we had our backs up against the wall at times in the second half."

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