The Tony Gale Column

Tuesday 6 February 2018 11:00

These columns are so easy to write these days when we can’t stop winning! Nottingham Forest put up a bit of a fight on Saturday, but in the end we had enough about us to see them off. Both sides were guilty of a couple of mistakes, but thankfully we were the ones who profited. Sometimes that’s the way it goes when you’re down the wrong end of the table. We’ve got a tricky period coming up soon so it’s important that we see off these teams in the bottom half to maintain our good form. These matches can easily go either way – we were the better side against Forest but on another day it could have been a different story, as Marcus Bettinelli had to make several important saves.

It was pleasing to see Aleksandar Mitrović get a runout after signing for the Club a few days earlier. We needed a striker – I’ve seen quite a bit of Mitrović at Newcastle and I think his physicality is what we need. I read that he turned down Middlesbrough in favour of us, which is quite a statement. He clearly wants to play in a team that creates chances, and we certainly do that. He also gives us another option up top, and if we play to his strengths then that adds another string to our bow. He can play, but he also gives us an option to stick some crosses into the area a bit more as he’s very good in the air.

From new signings to old ones, Brede Hangeland was back at the Cottage on Saturday. He wasn’t as good a player as me, but he was pretty decent! No, I thought he was excellent for Fulham. I think people outside of the Club underestimated Brede and didn’t realise how competent a footballer he was. My abiding memory of him is when he used to slide balls in with the inside of his right foot down the left flank to the player who had made a good run. But when the situation called for it, you always knew he’d win his headers, too. He enjoyed good times at Fulham, especially under Roy Hodgson, and it was nice to see him back.

We’re off to Bolton this weekend, and after starting the season poorly they’ve really turned things around lately. They’re a dangerous side at the moment and going to their place is an awkward fixture. On their current form I’d say it’s as tricky a fixture as any of those we’ve got coming up. I would still make us favourites, though. If we keep playing like we have been, creating chances and being solid at the back, then we know we’re going to play the good football which should be enough to see us win. We’re on a roll and we don’t want to hit the buffers in these next half a dozen games. A cold February afternoon up north, let’s go and get a result.

It was frustrating to see most of the teams around us pick up points last time out, but you can only do what you do. We’ve just got to keep pace with the others. Yes, they’re winning, but aside from Aston Villa nobody has as good a record as us over the last eight games. It’s a good time to be hitting our stride like that. It’s a shame we had a slow start, but what the team has done is believe in the way that they play. That’s admirable, and the fact that we’re picking up some real form now is reward for that philosophy.

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