Josh Carson has important role after season to forget

THIS time last year, Josh Carson was not at the top of Paul Jewell’s plans.

Partly, because the Town boss opted to strengthen his midfield with experienced heads Lee Bowyer, Jimmy Bullard and Keith Andrews.

But also, Jewell later admitted, because the Northern Ireland teenager had come back to pre-season a little out of shape.

After bursting onto the scene at the end of the 2010/11 season, Carson made 17 appearances last year – but most were from the bench.

Fast forward 12 months and the 19-year-old is reaping the benefits of Jewell’s new ‘young and hungry’ policy.

The manager’s number two, Chris Hutchings, yesterday explained why Carson has such an important role on the left flank – counter-balancing the skills of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.

Hutchings said: “Josh worked extremely hard defensively (against Blackburn on Saturday). “Sometimes I don’t think we can have two out-and-out wingers, especially with the two midfielders we had (Luke Hyam and Massimo Luongo).

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“JET is a little more forward-thinking than what Josh is, although Josh works hard getting up and down.

“We have to tighten it up in certain areas and not be susceptible to the counter attack.”

Another youngster who continues to come in for praise after his man-of-the-match display against Blackburn is 20-year-old Luke Hyam.

After Paul Jewell singled him out at the weekend, Hutchings yesterday added: “Luke did very well against Blackburn.

“He played very simply and that is what we want him to do. We would like him to switch play better than what he does, the same with Mass (Luongo) and Andy Drury but we are working on those things.

“He is getting around the pitch better, but he is a young lad who hasn’t had much experience in the first team.

“He will probably be the first to admit that when he makes bad passes, he beats himself up. But everyone makes bad passes.

“He just needs to keep doing the things he is good at and do the simple things well. His knowledge of knowing where to be at the right time is getting better.

“We are very pleased with him. He is a good player – that is why he is at the football club, that is why he is in the starting 11 and keeping other people out.”