Michael: Hayden's The Man

Michael Carrick says that Hayden Mullins is getting better and better in the centre of midfield - and is delighted to be alongside him.

Hayden scored his first goal for the club in the win over Wigan on Saturday, and the pair form what Tony Gale believes can be the best midfield in the first division.

Says Michael:

"Hayden has really settled in now and to get his first goal on Saturday was important - I think that will help him a lot.

"He is a quality player who has done really well since he came and in recent weeks he has stepped his performances up another level."

Michael is also pleased that the other goal scorer was David Connolly and he explains:

"I was chuffed for Conners because he hadn't scored for quite a while and that is something he talked about the other day.

"But it was a great goal and he took it really well to slot it home."

He is disappointed, though, that Jermain Defoe's suspension was not rescinded recently, and he adds:

"I think it just gets on your nerves being stop start - he hasn't had a good run of games for a while now and it is frustration more than anything else.

"It was a poor sending off but what can you do? The ref didn't want to change his mind and it makes it hard for us - and especially for Jermain."

Michael says the transfer window is something the club just have to get through and he adds:

"We are just going to have to wait and see what happens; it is going to be a long transfer window but it doesn't bother me and whatever is going to happen is going to happen - and whoever is left at the end is going to have to get some points for the team."

As for the win at Wigan, he insists:

"We think it was fully deserved; we battled and worked hard although it was a bit of a crappy game to watch, I suppose with the pitch being pretty poor.

"It was nice to get back to back wins and it gives a bit of confidence and momentum to the team - and we are delighted to have got through to the next round.

"I thought we created the best chances in the game and the lads got two quick ones at the end to settle us down then it was just a case of seeing the game out - Quinny made it a bit hard for us, though!

"I didn't enjoy it as much as most games but it was one of those things - everyone did well last week even if we weren't at our best."

As for Preston, he adds:

"We are set up for that after a couple of good wins but we need a good performance against Preston because we haven't really been at our best at home lately.

"But we are still up and around the promotion places so we will have to give it a good run until the end of the season.

"I feel really good and I just want to get back to my best."

And David Connolly adds:

"It is another tough game; we just about beat them at the start of the season and it is a game we are looking forward to.

"We have had a good week's training going into this game."

Following Police advice the FA cup fourth round match away at either Kidderminster Harriers of Wolverhampton Wanderers will be played on Sunday 25th January.

Should Kidderminster be successful kick off will be at 1pm, but if Wolves progress kick off is likely to be at 2pm, though this is to be confirmed.

Ticket and travel information is available on the ticket section.

Meanwhile, tickets are still available for Saturday's home fixture against Preston North End; prices start from £22 and £10 for non member U16s.

Tickets can still be booked on 0870 112 2700 and can be left for collection on the day.