English League 2

Mills slams York boo-boys

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Mon, 19 Nov 2012 12:03:00

Ipswich's on-loan defender Danny Higginbotham admitted the Tractor Boys could have no excuses after going down 6-0 to Leicester at the King Power Stadium.

Higginbotham saw David Nugent bag a brace for the in-form Foxes, with further strikes coming from Lloyd Dyer, Anthony Knockaert, Martyn Waghorn and Marko Futacs.

"It's disappointing all round and we know we weren't good enough," Higginbotham said.

"It's frustrating to go from a good result (against Burnley) to a performance like that against Leicester.

"We need to get some consistency into our performances and we didn't have that.

"We can't have any excuses and it's up to us, as a team, to take responsibility and turn this around."

The 23-year-old was criticised for his decision not to wear a Remembrance Day poppy on his shirt during the Black Cats' 2-1 defeat at Everton last weekend.

The Republic of Ireland international subsequently received a mixed response from the travelling Sunderland supporters when he was introduced as a second-half substitute during yesterday's 3-1 victory at Fulham.

It is understood that threats have been directed towards McClean on Twitter, a social networking site which the player no longer uses, with police confirming on Sunday they are investigating.

A statement released by Northumbria Police read: "Police are carrying out inquiries following a third party report of threats made on social networking sites.

"Officers have spoken to Sunderland AFC and inquiries are ongoing."

After yesterday's game, Black Cats manager Martin O'Neill confirmed McClean had received death threats, and backed him to rise above any negative reaction from fans concerning his choice not to wear a poppy.

O'Neill said: "James will deal with it (the booing).

"I think it is to do with the issue last week, it's a free choice in this world.

"James has lived with a lot of things - he's getting death threats too now so that doesn't help."

Chief executive Russ Green said Hughes, whose first game in charge ended in a 5-0 home defeat to Coventry at the weekend, was aware the budget at Victoria Park was even tighter this season as Pools adhered to the Football League's salary cost management plan, which has lowered the limit on spending on transfers and players' wages to 65% of a club's turnover.

"I think John knows the situation," said Green. "Salary Cap Management has come in now, every squad in the Football League now is tight. You'll not see as many transfers or manoeuvring in the market now in leagues one and two because the SCM has kicked in and John knows the situation is tight.

"We're working on our limit, but still within our means. He knows he's got the tools out there, he's just got to motivate and get the best out of them.

"He might have to move some on to bring some others in. That's football and it's business to be fair. That's why the SCM is a good thing. Everybody will be on a level playing field. It's good for the game."

Green added: "Everything about John, he just epitomises our club. The backs-to-the-wall approach and we have a siege mentality here now until the end of the season. Everything he said, he just ticked the right boxes."

And the winger was delighted to get a good performance under his belt, while getting his first league goal of the season was the icing on the cake.

He told the club's official website: "Scoring gives any player a boost, so it was nice to get a goal. I thought that I may have been offside at first, but the flag stayed down and I saw the keeper coming at me so I just lifted it over him.

"I know that I've had a dip in form, but I am confident I'm coming back strongly and this is hopefully the start of that.

"I thought we deserved to win the game. The lads grafted for the whole 90 minutes and put in a good performance against a team who have started the season well.

"We set a standard earlier in the season and have not played to that in recent weeks, but we went to Crawley with belief in our own ability and came away from the game gutted to have not got all three points.

"There were plenty of positives. We defended well and looked dangerous on the attack. We worked extremely hard and this will need to continue on Tuesday at Tranmere."

Whilst predecessor Fabio Capello showed little interest in anything beyond the senior team, following the opening of St George's Park, Hodgson is making it his business to see how the various England youth sides operate.

In addition, he has carried on Capello's work in bringing younger players into the fold.

It is work that will not necessarily pay dividends this season, or even during the entire World Cup qualifying campaign.

But Hodgson feels it has to be done if England are to maintain their status amongst the world's elite.

"Some people suggest the eye on the present should be your only focus," he told www.fifa.com. "I don't agree with that.

"I think you should be trying to do the job in the present while at least bearing in mind that one day you're no longer going to be the manager. What are you leaving behind? What sort of work will have been done when your time with the national team happens to be over?"

Not that Hodgson would allow that work to obscure the task of reaching Brazil 2014.

"There's no doubt the present is very important," he said.

"We need to have a successful team. If we're going to fall by the wayside at national team level then our messages are going to be harder to put forward.

"There's no doubt we're going to see a vast improvement over the coming ten years, and I think you see it already if you look at the young players that are coming through today.

"Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck, Cleverley, Bertrand, Gibbs, Wilshere - in all of these players you can see that technically they are of a very good level. It can only get better."

Hodgson certainly sees room for improvement on the road to Brazil.

With eight points from their opening four games, England are two adrift of Montenegro, who they take on in Podgorica on March 26.

Already, the contest has assumed 'must-not-lose' proportions following failures to beat Ukraine and Poland, in a game delayed by 24 hours due to torrential rain.

"I'm moderately happy, but not turning cartwheels because we are a couple of points behind where we would have liked to have been," said Hodgson.

"If we had 10 points, we would have been pretty satisfied given the programme we had - we've got eight.

"We are disappointed that we didn't get a victory against Ukraine, where they scored a wonder goal and then defended very well.

"In Poland both teams were affected by the circumstances. It's not easy when a game is called off to suddenly play it the next day, and the pitch was still pretty poor as a result of what happened.

"In the end a draw is not a bad result, but talking about ideal situations it would have been nicer to have ten points, then I'd have been very happy with our start."

Striker Chambers, 22, who has scored six goals in 22 appearances for the Minstermen this season, was replaced by Jamie Reed with 25 minutes left as York turned in a rare poor display to lose 3-0.

"What gets to me is Ashley Chambers gets booed off - clapped off, sorry - as he was brought off," fumed Mills in the wake of Saturday's 2-2 draw at Port Vale. "I find that amazing; a lad who's worked so hard for two years to help play a major part in getting this club back to where it is.

"It astounds me that he actually gets clapped off, a lad who everybody knows anyway finds it hard all through his career to have that confidence.

"He scored a goal at Wembley in the play-off final last season to enable us to even be sitting here and playing the likes of Port Vale - he needs applauding when he's on the field.

"I think it's disgraceful, actually. I know how hard it's been to get the club here in two years, this hasn't come easy and the fact we had a poor performance that day - in my opinion the only poor performance this season - makes it hard to understand."

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