Softly, softly approach set to pay-off for Sibi
Antoine Sibierski has been “wrapped in cotton wool” for this week's Carrow Road double-header. The Canaries face Queens Park Rangers tonight and Sheffield United on Saturday - and after his debut at Plymouth at the weekend, it could prove to be a hectic week for Sibierski.
Antoine Sibierski has been “wrapped in cotton wool” for this week's Carrow Road double-header.
The Canaries face Queens Park Rangers tonight and Sheffield United on Saturday - and after his debut at Plymouth at the weekend, it could prove to be a hectic week for Sibierski.
The French striker scored one and made one in the 2-1 win at Plymouth - the first match he has started since last January.
But whole manager Glenn Roeder admits he is shy of match fitness, the good news is that he has emerged from the trip to Devon unscathed.
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“He was pleasantly surprised how long he lasted himself because it is January or February since he started a game,” said Roeder. “We have wrapped him up in cotton wool since Saturday to make sure he is okay.”
Roeder is hoping the Sibierski touch will pay off on the training ground as well as the pitch.
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“Some of the boys' eyes have been opened by his quality on the training ground,” he said. “When we have a finishing practice he hits the back of the net more often than any of the others and he doesn't have to break the net to do it either. He just angles his shots away or his headers away - he doesn't have to smash it in.
“I think half the trouble with us we have been trying to take the back of the net off the goal and not even hitting the target.”
Matty Pattison was guilty of that at Plymouth, when he missed the target from close range - but he was impressive in his willingness to take shots on from distance, coming desperately close to scoring on several occasions.
“We have made them very aware of what I thought was obvious anyway - when you have a chance to shoot and score a goal don't give it to someone else, don't try and walk the ball in the net,” Roeder said.
“Sometimes with our short passing game we get to areas around the penalty box and we sometimes try to maybe walk the ball in instead of taking shots.
“With Matty it is just a shame for his sake the goals are not 8ft 6in - they were a couple of fantastic strikes. And I am glad people are starting to see what he is really capable of. He is a young player and he is learning all the time.”
Sibierski is likely to partner Arturo Lupoli again tonight, but Roeder admits midfielder Darel Russell could have a role to play up front again after his recent makeshift appearances.
“I could easily see Sibierski and Darel Russell playing up front together,” he said. “What he has done here as a striker I have to say he has done equally as well. There will be football judges who actually say he has done better as a striker. It was a really pleasant surprise how well he played up the middle. I have to say he retained possession really well and sometimes I don't think he always does that in midfield. But he has certainly proved his worth - it is an important string to his bow because he has a physical presence and because he has such high energy levels he wouldn't be nice to play against.
“He has shown us he can play up there not just as a stand-in. He has shown he is better than a stand-in and a couple of those performances were as good as any of his best performances in midfield. I can now view Rusty in both positions equally.”