It is always a reporter’s nightmare to receive a teamsheet and find that a player you believed to be fit is not even in the 18.
That’s what happened to me last Saturday. After being told by Uwe Rosler on Thursday that midfielder Jimmy Ryan’s scan was fine and he was in contention for the game at Rochdale, I raced into a story about Ryan being fit to feature.
So imagine my horror at finding Ryan not even on the bench. I felt I’d been made to look a fool and hadn’t told you the truth.
Not just that, I’d ended the press conference two days earlier trying in vain to coax out of Rosler just what exactly ws wrong with Ryan.
All the coach would give away was that he had a knock and is working with the physio.
In this age of social media and 24/7 news, managers are careful not to give away too much about injuries to avoid giving the opposition insight.
Not so Steven Pressley, who would give you exact medical details – he informed the press last term that defender Stephen Jordan had ‘a haematoma of the thigh and that Ryan was playing on with a broken toe at the end of the season.
The contrast between Town’s previous and present manager is stark, not just in the way they deploy their teams and give information to the press.
Rosler prefers to keep his cards close to his chest and will not even reveal the location of Ryan’s ‘mystery knock’, just incase the opposition target the 28-year-old. It is not so great for us – aggravating at times – but I understand his logic and desire to protect his players.
The man knows League One inside out and knows that a cynical rival boss could send his side out with the manifesto to go for Ryan’s weak area.
Ryan is a key cog in the team and Rosler is right to do all he can to protect him.
Post-match on Saturday, Rosler assured us he had believed Ryan would be fit enough to feature but decided it was too big a risk.
Rochdale are a physical side and if Ryan’s fitness is served by missing a game or so, then I have to back Rosler and his secretive style.
This is what football is all about. It is a change watching Rosler’s football and a change to witness the way information is released.
But I will continue to ask, ask and ask again.