Step on the Gaz

PUBLISHED: 12:50 13 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:20 24 August 2010

IT was great to see how fired up the lads were for the start of the season – but with hindsight we probably needed to get them more relaxed. I d be the last man to moan about over-enthusiasm, but we seemed to be too cavalier in those first 20 minutes agai

IT was great to see how fired up the lads were for the start of the season - but with hindsight we probably needed to get them more relaxed.

I'd be the last man to moan about over-enthusiasm, but we seemed to be too cavalier in those first 20 minutes against Barnsley. It was probably the worst we've played in a long time.

Everyone was so up for it that they forgot about some of the basics in that first part of the game. But once we got our noses in front I don't think there was much for Radek to do.

By the end of the game, we were coping really well - we kept our heads and saw the game out. The lads' fitness and concentration has clearly improved since last year and the fact was that, although we didn't play that well overall, we still took the three points.

Obviously it was great to see Fitz Hall score the two goals - he's someone I'd describe as a consummate professional and one of those quiet leaders, not someone to go shouting his mouth off.

It's just unfortunate for Fitz that he missed perhaps the only chance he's ever likely to get of scoring a hat-trick. The penalty was disappointing, but what was more disappointing was some of the newspapers saying it was unprofessional to let him take it.

Firstly, anyone who knows Iain Dowie knows how totally organised he is and the idea that sentiment would have come into a decision like that is ridiculous.

There wasn't any argument about who was going to take the penalty because Fitz was down as the penalty taker. The reason for that was he'd won a penalty competition the week before in training.

Dexter was on penalties for the Chievo game and maybe after Fitz's miss someone else will be down for it next time.

Thankfully, we didn't need penalties to go through in the Carling Cup at Swindon on Tuesday night.

I felt we played some good stuff, created lots of chances and could have had a few more goals, but it was good to see three players open their accounts for the season.

We could have crumbled after going 2-1 down, but the lads' response was fantastic. It's a nice feeling to be taking an interest in the second round draw for a change!

But straight away the focus shifted to Sheffield United this Saturday - the league's always going to be the priority and this is an important game.

I think Sheffield United are a strong side, but they've got a couple of injuries, so it might be a good time to play them.

Last season we got into a winning position there and let it slip, so it's important we go to Bramall Lane and show how far we've come.

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