Trevor's Verdict

Trevor Brooking is hoping for an improvement at Gresty Road against Crewe as he looks to continue his unbeaten run in charge.

Looking at the Reading game, he says:

"We had a bad little spell either side of half time; it wasn't the ideal build up with Wayne and Niclas coming late in the week and Matt having gasrtic trouble until late in the week, so we couldn't start with him, and Michael Carrick was out.

"I knew it was going to be a really tough game because Reading have a good understanding, they are very fit, and work very very hard - so it was a case of trying initially to match their running ability, particularly in midfield.

"In the first 15 minutes we should have scored, then Chris got a great goal to break his duck, and for 15 minutes leading up to the interval we were starting to get stretched and their full backs were pushing on - which is always a danger with our three against the opposition full backs.

"I said at half time 'we can't carry on like this or we are going to concede so we must try to get back to where we were at the start otherwise we will revert to a different formation.'

"After 10 minutes it was pretty obvious they were still in control so we went to 4-4-2 which we were able to do with Matt and Niclas on the bench.

"Matt has done very well since he has come in; he has high energy and gives balance on the left, and with Michael Carrick not playing to lose him was a major blow - but at least he recovered to go on the bench.

"Once we went to the 4-4-2 I felt much more comfortable and we had three or four good chances; Niclas had a header turned over and Jermain had two or three.

"We should have got the second; at the moment I seem to be getting involved in odd goal wins - I said to the lads that I would prefer the comfort gap.

"At some stage I am sure we will get a few against somebody - but give credit to the defence on Saturday.

"Christian and Ian were outstanding and Tomas is doing well in that right sided position - the crowd enjoyed that surging run and I thought he was going to hit a 30 yarder.

"He tried a subtle reverse pass which he hit as hard as a shot and went across David Connolly.

"But the crowd are giving him a lot of support and you can see that in his general demeanour around the club - he is very relaxed at the moment.

"We went for three at the back on Saturday, putting four in midfield in order to justify the three, whereas before we had played four at the back and a narrow three with three up but it is asking a lot of the narrow three because with the work rate of their full backs and wide men I think we would have got murdered.

"So we went to push a really competitive four with Wayne Quinn and Anton Ferdinand, more full backs really, to try and compete with their fitness and work levels.

"Before that game they were the leading goal scorers and I thought we competed well with them; I was hoping the three up front would pinch us a goal or two.

"But sometimes the system breaks down a bit when they lose it and switch off a bit and nobody picks up on the full back so suddenly we are asking too much of the midfield.

"It does work, though it is not one you can pick week in week out.

"I just asked Anton to do a right sided job on the day; he is a willing lad and is going to be a good player.

"Because he has such a good attitude and because this division needs sometimes just 'legs' and athleticism he is the sort of lad you can bring in in a different role and he can bring you good energy.

"Sometimes you don't need a team of all that creativity and you need blood and thunder as well.

"When we changed it it was no reflection on him and after 55 minutes he came off; the same goes for Neil Mellor who works very hard.

"To be fair, Jermain and Conners have had better days, and in the last 15 minutes they both could have had a goal or two.

"The fact that Niclas and Matthew came on helped, though, and Niclas did quite well considering he only came down on Friday.

"He has to get match fitness, he is only 30, I have seen him have some good games for Sweden, and I am hoping in the next three weeks he will give us some options and enjoy himself.

"We are asking Rob and Kevin not to surge forward at the moment because we have attacking options now but when we get the likes of Michael Carrick and Steve Lomas fully fit it will be important as I can see them scoring goals.

"We are looking quite dangerous at set pieces now; Wayne Quinn has got a terrific delivery and Jermain's was for the corner.

"We have been working quite hard on them because the deliveries have not really been testing in the past and we have got some good headers of the ball in Christian, Ian Pearce, and Tomas can get in there - but anyone can score if it is delivered in at pace.

"Crewe beat Rotherham away who beat us so it shows they are playing pretty well at the moment - and they have won their two home games against Walsall and Ipswich without conceding.

"They will be confident and I expect them to make it difficult; it will be no good working so hard for the win against Reading if we take the foot off the accelerator so we move on.

"Everyone accepts the great job Dario Gradi has done and he is a great example of how to bring youngsters through - he encourages them to work on their technique and feel comfortable with the ball as we were brought up at West Ham, so he deserves great credit for that.

"And they sell one player a season with Robbie Hulse going to West Brom this time around and they do produce.

"To do it in the second division as they have done, to get teams passing in that division reflects well on them.

"I have a lot of time for them but I hope they are not too effective against ourselves - they are only three points behind us.

"From our point of view there are some good games above us with Wigan at home to West Brom and Reading at home to Cardiff.

"Some of the top clubs have away matches so by the end of this week see the league will be beginning to take shape so we have to keep at it.

"Crewe have a good lad up front in Dean Ashton; he is one of those they will have to sell and move on at some stage and they have a couple of good central defenders as well as a keeper who does an excellent job and catches for fun.

"All in all they are a good side but we have to impose ourselves."