Dodgy defending Duff is left frustrated after Burnley loss
MICHAEL Duff is hoping his Cheltenham Town side got their poor defending out of their system against Burnley’s Under23s.
The Robins lost 3-2 at home to the side coached by Duff before his move to Whaddon Road last season.
Two trialists took advantage of sloppy defending from set-pieces before Luke Varney equalised twice before halftime, then Bobby Thomas headed the winner from a free-kick in the second half.
Duff said: “I was disappointed that every time the ball went in our box, one of them headed it, not us.
“They have had three shots on target in the game, but you don’t expect an academy team to be physically better than us in the box, which tells me it was just the mentality.
“Generally we are pretty good at those sorts of things. We are a big team, with nine of our team over 6ft, but they wanted it more than us.
“There was a little bit of the lads taking liberties because they thought, “oh well it’s only an Under-23s team”, but they are not bad and they had a right go.
“The three goals have come from balls into our box. The league that we play in, we need to do that better.
“First half we moved the ball well and created numerous chances. In the second half because we conceded another goal, a few looked “I am not quite so sure now”.
“It was disappointing, but ultimately nobody got injured which was the key. We looked quite fit, but there is lots to work on.
Duff added: “If you reflect from this week to last week. If those balls had come into the box against Leicester City, I don’t think they would have scored the goals.
“Is it right? No. But it happened and it’s a reminder you need to be prepared to do the ugly stuff to win football matches, even in pre-season against young players.
“They wanted to go and head the
ball. Jimmy Dunne has been out on loan at Hearts, Sunderland and he won promotion at Accrington, so he understands it.
“Bobby Thomas, the lad next to him is 18, but he’s 6ft 4in and he wants to go and head it. They caused a lot of problems.”
On the plus side were the performances of Varney and Sean Long at right wing-back, who linked up for the forst Cheltenham goal and looked dangerous.
“Reg was a shining example. Doing everything right pays you back. Live your life right, train right and it pays you back. I’ve said it all along, since I came in,” said Duff.
“He took his goals well and could have had a couple of others.
“Longy has done well, looking strong. It was a difficult season for him last year, but it gives us something different.
“We have Broomy (Ryan Broom), who can go out there as well. That gives you different options in wide areas, depending on opposition, form and other things.
“Last year, Conor Thomas went out there, but the only real option was Broomy.”
Thomas made his return from injury but Reuben Reid, George Lloyd, Josh Debayo and Chris Hussey all missed out.
Lloyd and Reid are definitely out of the opening game at Leyton Orient, and will be missing for a while - and Hussey will join them.
“Huss won’t be ready, just based on he’s not played any minutes,” said Duff.
“Even if he’s fit, it’s been a niggling one.
“He’s trained for four or five days with the lads and he’s close, but he need minutes.
“Josh we are hoping to be back involved but Lloydy (George Lloyd) won’t be ready for next weekend.“
Manager Michael Duff shows his frustration Pictures: Thousand Word Media
Burnley’s Bobby Thomas gets above Rohan Ince
Luke Varney scores Cheltenham’s first equaliser