Anton's Surprise

Anton Ferdinand says he is pleasantly surprised to be playing in the first team this early in the season - and admits he is on a steep learning curve.

Originally, it looked as if he was going to 'do a Glen Johnson' and wait until the second half of the season - possibly after a spell on loan - before breaking through.

Relegation altered matters, of course, and with so many players leaving he was pushed up the pecking order.

That he has played uncomplainingly at right back, and on both sides of midfield, when his preferred position is a centre half, says a lot for his maturity - and courage in growing up in public.

"I didn't think I was going to start the year in the team, I thought it was going to be around Christmas that I was going to be looking to push on and start playing," he reveals, "but I have come in early and hopefully people will think I have done a good job.

"You tend to make more mistakes when you haven't really played in front of a lot of people before; it might get to you.

"My first game, against Preston, was the first time I have ever played against a big, big crowd like that so I was a bit nervous but I have to take each game as it comes and try to play my best.

"I am just taking everything in my stride and trying to play well, not just for the fans, but myself and the club, and hopefully I will just keep going. "Trevor has given me a chance and I aim to repay him.

"I am just taking it day by day and game by game; all I can do is keep playing my football and training hard."

Anton certainly played his part on Tuesday night in Wales playing in the midfield in the absence of Niclas Alexandersson who was injured and Rob Lee, about whom Trevor says:

"Rob has got a groin problem so we left him behind to get treatment and we will see how he is on Sunday."

In addition, Don Hutchison was also still missing, and Trevor adds:

"Don has got a calf but should start training next week."

And, with Michael Carrick and Steve Lomas still out, Anton is certainly getting his fair share of first team action, being preferred at Ninian Park to Youssef Sofiane once more as he was when he came on for Niclas at Gillingham.

"The boys didn't look like we could string two passes together that day but at Cardiff it took a lot of courage to pick it up with a victory after being two down and having lost on Saturday," he says.

"I thought the players showed great courage and ability to come back and showed that we have the power to win matches like that."

And, referring to the penalty incident, he adds:

"If you get a bit of luck hopefully it will stay with us; obviously you get the doubts but you have to keep your head up and you have to keep fighting and battling which we did, and we came up trumps."

He is delighted that Jermain Defoe got a hat trick and says:

"It was a long while coming, to be honest with you, because we all know how good he is - and I think from now he is going to kick on and be a top goalscorer in the league."

He says it goes some way to making amends for the sending off Jermain endured at Gillingham, adding:

"That is the best way to show them that you are willing and that you are sorry, and I am sure the fans will thank him for those three marvellous goals."

Anton was delighted to celebrate that first goal by Jermain at Ninian Park, and adds:

"It is one of the best feelings, when you have scored, to see your own fans going mad, and I like to get involved in that because they have travelled all that way when they didn't have to - it is good to show your appreciation."

As for the intimidating atmosphere, he says:

"It wasn't as bad as people said it would be and we came away with flying colours."

And a summing up of the season so far?

"Anyone can beat anyone!"