Martin Smith

Smith Says...

by Martin Smith

Columnist returns and talks West Ham, Bolton and Wigan.

The New Year is well under way and I thought we produced our best performance of the season so far against West Ham.

We got an early goal which got everyone going, and an early breakthrough can change the whole mood and pattern of the game.

It was a great goal from Seb, who I’m sure was relieved. He scored a number of goals last year but this one was well worth the wait.

Everything clicked on the day and all our top players were on form. People said West Ham were poor, but I think we made them look that way.

It’s also been good to see us sharing the goals around in a similar way to when the manager first came in.

Back then players were flooding into the box and the likes of Craig Gardner were shooting from everywhere.

Craig’s starting to find his range again and we’ve got the likes of Larsson, Adam Johnson and James McClean all contributing and taking the load off Steven Fletcher.

Going out of the cup in midweek was disappointing and it was a typical cup upset.

I thought we started pretty well and created some chances but the performance wasn’t anywhere near the levels we reached against West Ham.

It would have been nice to have a cup run and the fact that we won’t this year is obviously a massive disappointment.

Now it’s important we head to Wigan and do well again. At this time of year they tend to start picking up a few results and it’s vital we’re right at it.

We’re taking a massive following down there again and that will help. The turnout will make it like a home game.

Three points would give us that bit of extra leeway and the players will certainly be up for it.

After a bad result you can’t wait for the next game to come around so you can put it to bed.

You always want to to move on and hopefully we can learn the lessons and get three away points under our belts.