Ryan: I lost head in Villa battle
WREXHAM’S Ryan Valentine has had to suffer some ribbing from his team-mates since he fronted up to Aston Villa striker Marlon Harewood during Tuesday night’s Carling Cup clash at the Racecourse.
But the feisty 25-year-old defender, who captained the Dragons in the absence of Neil Roberts, yesterday dismissed the spat as “one of those things” and said it was prompted by frustration that the Premiership side were coasting to their 5-0 win.
“We’d probably had the better of the game until they opened the scoring, but when it was 3-0 one or two heads dropped a bit in our team and it all kicked off when I was booked for a foul on Harewood,” said Valentine.
“He said one or two things and I gave as good as I got but these things happen, especially when the score is so one-sided.
“It’s not a nice feeling to lose like that, whether it’s against League Two or Premiership opposition, so I lost my head a bit because I was annoyed they were so much on top and looking so comfortable.”
Valentine’s frustration was shared by manager Brian Carey, who was horrified by his side’s second half display, but the defender insisted there would be no hangover when Hereford United provide the Racecourse opposition this afternoon.
“We’ve done okay in our three league matches so far,” he added. “Anyone who saw last week’s match at Bradford must agree we deserved something from the game, but we didn’t have any luck at all.
“And while it’s not been a brilliant start, I firmly believe there is a lot more to come from us.
“No-one who was here 12 months ago has to be told we had a great couple of months last year before it all went downhill and our attitude now is to take every game as it comes and we’ll see where we finish in May.”
And Valentine insisted that confidence had not been dented by the midweek lesson dished out by Villa.
“We need to start tomorrow’s game as we did against Morecambe a fortnight ago,” he said. “We could have been three or four ahead at the interval and the game would have been over.
“As it was I think we paid a price in the second half for the extra time and penalties we’d had at Port Vale, but that won’t be the case tomorrow and we’ll be able to sustain the pace right through the game.”
With no injury problems to distract him, Carey has resisted the temptation to include new signing Silvio Spann in a 20-man squad for the match against a so-far unbeaten Hereford.
And fit-again pair Matty Crowell and Juan Ugarte will also have to be patient after the Dragons boss added only Mike Carvill’s name to the list of 19 players who were involved in the previous two games.
“We are in the best shape we’ve been for a couple of years, touch wood,” said Carey. “That means there is no need to be hasty with the likes of Silvio, Matty and Juan and we can ensure they are 100% ready before we slide them into the picture.”
The decision provides an opportunity for those involved to redeem themselves following the midweek surrender.
“I’m looking for a reaction from the lads and more of a ruthless streak from everyone,” Carey admitted. “We went out of the Carling Cup with a whimper and I don’t want to see any more of that.
“Some of the goals we conceded the other night were very sloppy – in fact I’d say three of them were gift-wrapped – and while there were one or two individual errors, there were also things in other areas where we are capable of doing a lot better.”
The Racecourse boss, who’s side are without a match next Saturday due to international commitments, added: “But we must not be carried away by what happened on Tuesday and if you look at the bigger picture, we’ve been reasonably happy with the overall performances thus far.
“We could do with winning tomorrow because we’ll be falling behind next week, although Hereford won’t let us have it all our own way.
“At times on Tuesday, particularly in the first half, we showed what we can do and I’ll be looking for us to sustain that sort of form throughout tomorrow’s match.”