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HUGHTON'S NOTES

Posted on 25 October 2006  - 12:00

Chris Hughton looks back on victory over West Ham and ahead to our Carling Cup challenge at Milton Keynes Dons...

Chris Hughton looks back on victory over West Ham and ahead to our Carling Cup challenge at Milton Keynes Dons...

AFTER A UEFA Cup game on a Thursday night it is very much a case of trying to back it up with a win on a Sunday, however it comes about. We definitely deserved to win against West Ham on Sunday - certainly on chances alone - but the frustrating bit was at the end when it was almost like we were hanging on.

The reality is, if we had put one more of many opportunities away, we wouldn't have been in that position. We have to expect that because, irrespective of West Ham's current fortunes, we knew it was a massive game for them and also that it could have been the game that turned their season round a bit. They have a lot of quality in the team and it just hasn't happened for them so far on a regular basis, but you feel that it will do at some stage.

The hardest thing about the short turn around in games is when you get injuries and there is not enough time to recover inbetween. We were fortunate this time in that we didn't pick any up to really speak of and also that we were on the back of a very good result.

We did make changes to the team, but it was not a case of rotation. Use of that word tends to be interpreted as lessening the side but we don't feel that is so with whoever we bring in from the first team squad. Of course, players who feature on a regular basis have a momentum and the fitness levels that go with that, but you have to use your squad and use it wisely.

It was a very good goal that clinched the points against West Ham. It was one at the time where you weren't quite sure how Mido scored it because he stuck from a very tight angle, but from seeing it straight after you could see it was a purposeful goal and he certainly meant to flick the ball up and volley towards the far post. Mido has that type of ability.

It is the Carling Cup next for us when we travel to the National Hockey Stadium to take on Milton Keynes Dons. I went there a few weeks ago to see them face Peterborough and they are a good side with a certain style in the way they play. They can very much play off the front with the players they have.

The pitch is in good nick, they are expecting a full house and I would expect it to be a good occasion.

I know Martin Allen well - apart from the fact he is Clive's cousin - and played alongside him at West Ham. He earned his 'Mad Dog' reputation for the way he went about his football business and he was certainly a very passionate player and he has taken that same passion into his managerial career.

I would expect him to get MK Dons very, very fired up for the game. He is a thoughtful manager who is different to others and always prepared to try new things - I think that is what has given him the success he has had so far.

His side are strong up front with Clive Platt and Izale McLeod - who has attracted a lot of attention. Even though they are both big men, Platt is good in the air and McLeod is the quicker of the two.

They are a high energy side who are capable of getting the ball forward early.

Our Carling Cup exit last season is very much in our minds and we are also aware of the teams who have already gone out of the competition. That being the case and if more Premiership sides follow, it could give us a better chance of making progress.

This is the type of game where, if we don't do it right and our approach is not what it should be, then there could be an upset. I expect us to do it right.