October 1st, 2016

True Blue – Boss keen to stamp out ill-discipline

Updated: 5:04 pm, May 07, 2015

STEPHEN Gleeson has apologised to the fans, other players and club for his petulant sending off at the weekend and was grateful his actions had not hurt the club’s chances of victory in the Brentford game.

However, with the signing of Robert Tesche on loan from Nottingham Forest and the recall of Charlee Adams from Lincoln City, the competition for places in the middle has heated up some more and it might just be that moment of anger will hurt Gleeson far more than it will the team.

Blues manager Gary Rowett was brutal in his assessment in post-match interviews, insisting Gleeson had let himself down, needlessly put his team-mates under pressure and had given someone else the opportunity to make the position their own.

Gleeson only has to look at Wes Thomas to see how petulance can harm his first team chances. Since Thomas got red-carded in the game against Cardiff City, the 28-year-old striker has made nine appearances for Blues but crucially only two have been starts, with all but two of the seven substitute appearances he has made being no more than 15 minutes.

This is despite Clayton Donaldson going through struggles in front of goal and Thomas scoring two against Blyth Spartans in the cup. Thomas’ only start in the league came about when Blues switched to a 4-4-2 formation against Ipswich Town and whether he will only get into the team when that formation is tried again remains to be seen.

It could be seen as harsh for bombing out Gleeson for his moment of madness, but I think it is the mark of Rowett’s management in that I don’t think the former right back suffers fools gladly.

When scouting players, Rowett has not been just looking at quality on the pitch but mental qualities too – if he is to maintain a small close-knit squad then it is imperative that players buy into his ethos and they don’t pick up continual suspensions.

As much as I think having Michael Morrison beside him has helped Paul Robinson out from making rash tackles, I don’t think there is any coincidence he has picked up far less yellow cards this season, especially since Rowett became manager.

Indeed, the skipper berated David Cotterill in the match against Middlesbrough for picking up a needless caution for kicking the ball away after the whistle had been blown.

Bringing a sense of discipline as well as tactical organisation might be the next facet of the Rowett Revolution to take hold, ensuring consistency of selection is easier to maintain and a continued building of a team ethic.

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