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CLIVE'S TRIBUTE TO BARNEY

Clive Allen has paid tribute to Lee Barnard after the striker's successful return from injury in our reserve draw at Chelsea on Monday.

Clive Allen has paid tribute to Lee Barnard after the striker's successful return from injury in our reserve draw at Chelsea on Monday.

Top scorer in reserve football last season, ‘Barney’ ended months of frustration as he battled against an ankle problem with a half-hour stint off the bench at Chelsea's reserve base at Aldershot Town FC.

Typically, he almost marked his return with a goal – his point-blank effort saved in the final minutes of the goalless encounter – but Clive was just happy to see the hotshot back out there.

“Our play took a new dimension as soon as he was introduced and it was great to see him back," said Clive.

“He’s worked really hard and people sometimes don't appreciate when players are out for a long time what they go through, the frustration and the work they have to put in.

“It’s an absolute credit to him because he’s had a lot of ups and downs throughout his injury and he’s returned in fantastic physical condition, his touch was excellent considering how long he’s been out and he can now build on that.

“As soon as Barney was introduced, it lifted everyone. He now has chance to sharpen his fitness with a view to being involved in our next game against Villa.”

As for the goalless draw, Clive couldn’t fault his side’s application as the snow and hailstones came down at the Recreation Ground.

He added: “I was pleased with the attitude of the lads because as soon as we arrived we could see how difficult it was going be, not just in terms of the weather conditions but also the playing surface, which wasn’t the best.

“The longer the game went on, the better we got and I was disappointed along with the lads that we didn’t come away winners.

“We created chances in the second half, I thought we were dominated, we looked in little danger of conceding a goal and the frustrating thing was we didn’t take the chances we created. It was a dominant performance without a victory.”



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