Pre Birmingham

Telegraph-sport

SEVEN points from nine since our heavy defeat by Leicester City – that is a terrific response.
We played an extremely strong Leicester team and we were well and truly beaten. They were flying, and still are, and it was probably our poorest performance since Steve McClaren took over.
In football, it is about how you react to setbacks.
We have beaten Brighton and Yeovil, and drawn against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. I don’t think anybody could have asked for more, really.
There have been some good performances, and performances when we have had to be patient after falling behind.
We stuck to our guns in both matches, remained patient and it paid dividends.
Patrick Bamford hit a fine equaliser at Blackburn and his header started our comeback from 2-0 down to beat Yeovil 3-2.
Yeovil were tremendous up front. The two strikers were big, strong and willing, and caused us problems first half.
Playing two up front can be a bit of a shock to the system.
I know Leicester did and you kind of expect that from them, but most teams have come here and sat back in a 4-5-1 or whatever and tried to stop us playing in midfield.
Yeovil put two up top and looked a threat going forward.
Despite being two down, I always felt if we could score the next goal we would come back.
It was important we got that goal early in the second half through Patrick.
Yeovil continued to defend really well. They got bodies in the way and made blocks. They smothered us at times when we got into good positions.
Brys (Craig Bryson) popped up with the equaliser and then Chrissy Martin grabbed the winner in added time.
I felt we did enough throughout the game to win it. Our quality shone through.
The game defined the difference when you are at the top and eyeing promotion and when you are near the bottom worried about being relegated.
We have been on the end of games like that in past seasons when we’ve been looking to pick up enough results to stay clear of the bottom three.
Last-gasp defeats in such a situation are hard to take.
We are now getting the last-minute goals.

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WATCHING the lads fight back from two down to beat Yeovil was a special night and came 24 hours after I’d enjoyed another special night.
I went to the LG Arena in Birmingham on Monday to watch one of my favourite bands, Depeche Mode.
They have been one of the most consistent bands over the last 25 years and they are unbelievable live.
But what made the night extra special is I was able to go back stage and meet two of the band, Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher. I also got to see Martin Gore’s guitars and the band’s tour bus.
It was all arranged by Jez Webb, who is a huge Derby County fan.
Jez is a guitar tech who has worked with Depeche Mode for about 20 years. He checks all the guitars to make sure the sound is right.
He contacted me through a friend at Sky and said if I wanted to go to a Depeche Mode gig sometime, he would look after me.
It was a real special moment for me. I actually felt like a footballer for the first time, I really did. I felt like I had a bit of pull. It’s just a shame I’ve had to wait until I am 31 to first experience that!
I went to the gig with club physio Neil Sullivan, who is also a big fan of Depeche Mode.
I think Sully came to keep an eye on me and make sure I wasn’t up dancing. I’m not sure that is part of the planned rehabilitation from my knee injury.
Sully was up dancing, so I left all the moves to him!

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CHRIS Martin has had a brilliant season for us.
I don’t think many expected him to get the amount of goals he has scored this season.
As a lone striker for much of the time, he is expected to hold the ball up, make it tough for the centre halves and link players in like Craig Bryson, Will Hughes and Jamie Ward, players who want to get in around the edge of the box.
His link-up play is so important to the team.
That is Chris’ main job but his goals’ ratio this season is fantastic. His winner against Yeovil on Tuesday was his 16th of the campaign.
Strikers are always going to have a little spell without a goal. I think Chris went five games and because he has scored so many goals people expect him to score every week.
That is a pressure he is has to deal with and it was nice to see him notch late on against Yeovil.

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WE face Birmingham City today, a club I feel is in a similar position on the field to where we where two or three seasons ago.
They are currently 17th in the Championship and it has been a slippery slope for them trying to stay up in this division, fight the wage budget and get the age of the squad down.
They have to go through the turmoil and frustration but if they want to see what slow progression can do for a team, they only have to look at us. We are reaping the rewards of gradual process.
We know Birmingham have got quality in their side. On their day they can cause problems and we have had some tough games at St Andrew’s in recent years.
Today is going to be tough but we are confident going into the game.

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