McGreal will risk a few boos to make the right substitutions
PUBLISHED: 06:00 26 February 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Colchester United boss, John McGreal, is ready to risk a few boos from supporters to make the right decisions with regards introducing substitutes.
McGreal’s attacking substitutions certainly came up trumps on Saturday, as the replacement duo of Brennan Dickenson and Mikael Mandron combined to set up Frankie Kent’s 84th minute equaliser in a 1-1 home draw against Carlisle United.
Striker Mandron and left-sided specialist Dickenson both had a big impact, following their introduction for the final quarter of the game, while fellow substitute Luke Norris also appeared with 15 minutes to go.
It was a brave decision by McGreal to finish the game with three strikers on the pitch – Frank Nouble, Mandron and Norris – with attack-minded Dickenson operating as a left-back.
But it is that sort of positive approach that could well see the U’s finish in the League Two play-off zone, at the end of the season.
“We’ve been on a good run, and I had a powerful bench,” explained McGreal.
“We had three centre forwards on the pitch at the end. We threw caution to the wind with just one sitting midfielder on the pitch.
“If we conceded the second goal, then I’m sure I would have been booed at, no question of that.
“I heard one or two boos already with the subs that I made. But the subs know where they are, and I know their fitness levels and what they are doing in training – some of the fans do not realise that.
“It left us a little bit wide open at times, but I felt we needed to get the goal.
“Luke (Norris) is looking fitter and fitter in training – he’s been out for a long time, and Mikael (Mandron) was on good form before he felt his hamstring and groin. They both came on the pitch and affected it.
“Dicko (Dickenson), a left winger, came on as a left back, and he was a threat from there.
“He looked very hungry and had trained ever so well during the week. He’s looking to get a start and that’s what we want.
“They are all tough games coming up now,” added McGreal.
The U’s are currently in fifth spot, although they are seven points adrift of the top three and only a couple of points clear of ninth-placed Tranmere.
They travel to mid-table Swindon Town this Saturday.