North Stander: We lack quality, but have team spirit in abundance

Town celebrate their late leveller at Hull - a sign of good team spirit. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

Town celebrate their late leveller at Hull - a sign of good team spirit. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

“We might not be the best, but we keep going. It’s an endearing quality we have.”

Mick McCarthy’s wise words after a rollercoaster game at Hull sum up perfectly the strengths and weaknesses of our frustrating, yet in some ways admirable, team.

There’s no doubting that we lack quality, but what we clearly do have is team spirit in abundance, and a real never-say-die spirit.

Saturday was a classic example. Other teams might have let their heads drop after a series of negative events left them trailing to a pretty poor Hull side. The missed penalty could have been the final straw.

But no, yet again Town picked up a point from a losing position, and yet again McCarthy’s men rescued a point with a late, late goal.

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It evokes happy memories of the team spirit which powered us to the play-offs in 2014-2015. Along with Daryl Murphy’s hatful of goals, of course.

I always think the acid test of team spirit is what happens during goal celebrations. Watch the Town players next time they score a goal.

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Pretty much everyone joins in. No-one simply jogs back to the halfway line. To me, that shows they all get on with each other, and are genuinely pleased for whoever has put the ball in the net. Good signs.

The other big positive this season is that we are full of goals. Look at the stats. Only leaders Wolves and, bizarrely, struggling Hull have scored more league goals. Garner might be going through a bit of a drought, but Waghorn, McGoldrick and Celina certainly know where the goal is. We’ll forgive McGoldrick the penalty miss.

Quite why both he and Waghorn were taken off when we were chasing the game at Hull is something only McCarthy understands.

The other question mark about McGoldrick is the way he’s being played wide, which means he has to track back. Surely not the best use of his attacking flair?

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The big negative, of course, is the defence. We’re scoring plenty of goals but we’ve also sprung a leak at the back. Too many soft goals. Very odd for a Mick McCarthy team, and something which must be his top priority to sort.

But, in the meantime, I’ll take what we’re getting at the moment.