McAuley's praise for Lisbie

KEVIN Lisbie's match-winning performance did not surprise Blues skipper Gareth McAuley one bit.

Derek Davis

KEVIN Lisbie's match-winning performance did not surprise Blues skipper Gareth McAuley one bit.

The defender saw first hand at his old club Leicester what he could do when the striker was on trial but rejected and instead went to Layer Road.

Although Lisbie did not train with the first team last week as he was working on his fitness with coach Simon Thadani, he showed sharpness and persistence to score his late winner against West Brom.

McAuley said: “Kevin's goal epitomised the whole performance. He closed down well, nicked the ball and kept going to finish. That was good for him to get off the mark in his first game.

“He was on trial at Leicester with me last season and did very well but for some reason was not given a contract. Instead he went to Colchester and scored all the goals so hopefully he can bring that up the road here.

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The Northern Ireland international was also full of praise for centre-half partner Tommy Smith who showed his experience on loan at Stevenage last season has helped him.

McAuley said: “Tommy was outstanding. He is playing well above his years. That was probably his first start in the first team and he was outstanding. He just needs to keep his head down and keep going and I can see he has a very bright future.

“Tommy is always asking questions, picking up bits of experience and wanting to stay behind after training to do the simple and repetitive things to make his game better.”

McAuley, who looks certain to be made skipper after again wearing the captain's armband in a friendly match, thought it was a job well done for Town.

He added: “It was a good work out for us. We have talked about being hard to beat and we knew they would come and pass the ball about.

“We kept the shape and picked up a lot of scraps and broke up the play and were not as open as we have been.

Former Blues defender Fabian Wilnis is mulling over an offer by Ipswich Town to take on an ambassadorial role which would involve looking after coaching clinics for youngsters and possibly some match-day hospitality.

But Wilnis, who has a slight knee injury, is also tempted to keep on playing with offers from non-league clubs on the table and then progress into coaching.