Shefki left seething

SEETHING Shefki Kuqi has vowed to keep his anger in check and get on with the job of helping the Blues reach the Premiership, writes Derek Davis.The Finland international striker made his feeling known when hauled off after 35 minutes when Town were losing 1-0 at Gillingham.

SEETHING Shefki Kuqi has vowed to keep his anger in check and get on with the job of helping the Blues reach the Premiership, writes Derek Davis.

The Finland international striker made his feeling known when hauled off after 35 minutes when Town were losing 1-0 at Gillingham.

He tapped Richard Naylor's hand as they exchanged places, but turned his back to the bench and stormed off down to the tunnel, ignoring the Town supporters before kicking a wall in frustration and going into the dressing room.

But immediately after the game he told the EADT how he intended to bury his disappointment and that he would not be seeking a showdown with the manager.


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Kuqi said: "I have been taken off a couple of times this season and have accepted it. Usually I agree with the manager, but not on this occasion.

"He is still one of the best managers I have ever had and I really like him, so I won't be going to see him or anything.

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"As a player all I can do is go back on the training ground and work hard and get back in the team."

Kuqi has been withdrawn in 12 of his 30 starts for Town this season – but this substitution hurts the 27-year-old.

He said: "I'm very disappointed and feel it was unfair that I was brought off.

"The whole team did not play very well first half, so to pick on me to take off was very disappointing, especially so early in the game.

"I don't know what else I was supposed to do. I was in our own box more than Gillingham's. I know I lost the ball a couple of times, but even so I should not have been taken off then."

Kuqi has also netted 11 goals since signing from Sheffield Wednesday in September and is more than capable of becoming a match-winning hero in the coming weeks.

He said: "Perhaps I will – you never know. I always want to do my best for the team. I'm upset, but just because I was taken off at Gillingham it doesn't mean I don't care any more. We are in a good position and I want to do my bit to help us go up."

Blues boss Joe Royle used all three substitutions during the game and salvaged three points after going a goal down.

He said: "It was not Shefki's day and I could tell straight away it wasn't going to be. He is very much a confidence player and I could have taken him off after 20 minutes never mind 30. He is upset but he will be back. He is a big man and will be back as large as life."

Royle explained that he used Naylor as a replacement rather than Dean Bowditch to cope with the Gills' physical presence.

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