TALKING TACTICS: Jay destined for England

SCOUT Phil Smith looks evaluates Jay Rodriguez’s performance at Nottingham Forest and ahead to tomorrow’s home game against Peterborough.

Jay Rodriguez is certainly one of our own,but how long for? My relief upon hearing the team at Forest was quickly diminished by the stark realisation that this could well be his last season at Turf Moor.

When assessing the quality of a forward it is crucial to judge the core attributes of composure,technical ability,pace,finishing and off-the-ball intelligence. Jay ticked all the boxes at the City Ground,and will go on to play for England,of that I am absolutely certain.

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I rate Lee Camp as the finest goalkeeper in the Championship,but he must take his share of the blame for both goals on Tuesday night. He failed to command his area appropriately,and his communication with Lascelles and Lynch was non existent on occasion.

The 2,004 travelling fans will not care about that in the slightest. Jay put the ball in the net, and that is all you can ask of him. He now has sixteen for the season,and although I see he has set himself a target of twenty, I would like him to raise the bar.

I normally insist that the need of the team is greater than the individual,but I would urge him to ignore that advice. I want him to develop a selfishness to his game,and assume the mantle of top dog at the football club.It is only then that he can transform himself from a good player into a great one.

With Blackpool facing a testing proposition down in Wales,and Birmingham City playing later in the evening,three points can leave us in the top-six come full-time tomorrow.

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Peterborough visit Turf Moor looking to halt a run which has seen them lose four on the bounce, scoring just once in the process. With forty-seven goals shipped thus far,a goal drought was inevitably going to result in a slide down the table.

Norwich City beat the transfer deadline to acquire the services of central defender Ryan Bennett on a three-and-a-half year deal,for what is reported to be a club record sale. Bizarrely,however, he has come straight back on loan,and so is expected to take his place in the XI. Given the lack of available defenders on their books,his presence will undoubtedly be a timely boost to a squad currently bereft of confidence.

Predictability is the biggest weakness in football,and,unfortunately for Darren Ferguson,when you combine that with a distinct lack of movement,it is easy to explain a period which has seen them win just twice since November 5th.

I would advise Burnley to press high up the pitch and allow Peterborough to play in front of us. Unless they attempt to direct distribution through us,they will have no option but to go sideways and backwards to goalkeeper Joe Lewis.

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George Boyd was regarded as the standout performer against Portsmouth last weekend,but I genuinely cannot see him troubling ourselves.As you would expect with your typical flair player,he can be prone to moments of magic and his ball control is often exemplary. However,he lacks pace and strength and that is possibly why he is plying his trade at London Road,rather than a higher ranked team.

Managers up and down the country will be breathing a collective sigh of relief now that the transfer window has slammed shut.January really is the silly season,proven by the ridiculous gossip reporting a rumoured swap of Carlos Tevez and Andy Carroll.

On Tuesday, I reveal my assessment of the activity at Turf Moor,and provide my opinion as to where the season goes from here.