Date: 5th January 2017 at 2:12pm
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We take a look at a few talking points after the Bristol City win and in preparation for the cup game against United this weekend.


Yann is the man – He has his critics, but once again, Yann Kermorgant proved his worth to the team with a superb last five minute brace in the comeback win over Bristol City on Monday. Both of his goals were great finishes and while his goalscoring record comes in for criticism, he brings much more than that to the team. A great workhorse, superb in the air and a very clever player at that. While I`m sure Stam is still considering a striker in January, and rightly so, the Frenchman is still a great asset to have in the squad and let`s hope the goals keep flowing.

Kelly is a real gem – Some very good news to come out of last week was getting Liam Kelly tied down for a further two years at the club. The academy graduate was out of contract in the summer, but Stam made it clear he really rates the young midfielder and has shown that by including him in the first team in recent months. However, it has only been recent games the youngster has come to prominence, with a man of the match performance in the win at Blackburn and played a superb part in the City win, coming to score his first professional goal and assisting the equaliser. I`m not saying Kelly is ready for regular first team football yet, but it seems we have a potentially special player on our hands.

This team have great character – Brendan Rodgers eat your heart out! I know it`s been said and maybe overused this season, but these bunch of players resemble the same chemistry that we had back in 05/06 and 11/12 promotion seasons – the Bristol game opitimised that for me. The team we had last season would have thrown in the towel when we conceded the second goal, instead the boys gave it their all and came out with the victory they deserved for their territorial domination in the second half. This character alone will not get us out of this league, but it gives us the best possible chance.

Evans will feel hard done by – The only surprise from the starting XI on Saturday was the omission of George Evans to the bench over Joey van den Berg. Joey clearly wears his heart on his sleeve, but does he have more quality than Evans on the ball? I don`t think so, especially as Evans looks a lot safer in that holding role. JVDB definitely has the edge in his ball retention and tough tackling, but he certainly likes to take a risk – he may get away with it in Holland, not in England. For me, Evans offers much more to what Joey can, so that’s my only of Stam as of late with his team selection.

We should have no fear going into the United game – We are one of the stand out ties going into the third round of the FA Cup, mainly due to the Stam-United connection. While a cup shock for the hosts isn`t out of the question, it still seems a long shot for Royals making it to the fourth round. Looking at it though, we have nothing to lose, and that`s the beauty of it that could help us and harm United. The players will go into this one full on confidence, but with no pressure. It`s a chance to express themselves amongst the best, play our usual game and who know what could happen?!

Stam should and will go full strength – Stam made changes for the Arsenal game back in October, but I get the vibe he will be going full strength in this game, for two reasons. First of all, we`ve had a five day break and we have another five day break until we play QPR in the league. I`m no fitness coach, but five days is plenty of recovery time for any player, especially as there is no extra time. Secondly, Stam will know his players now. Stam used the Arsenal game to try Kelly, Watson, Samuel and a few other fringe players, in an attempt to give them a chance – since then a few of them have had a run. Stam won`t learn anything new by playing a different team, so he may as well go for it for a strength team, and I think the Dutchman will be doing just that.