Exclusive Chris Humphrey PNE column
'˜Humphrey cross...Makienok header '“ it's a goal...'
I’m hoping commentators at our games will get the chance to use that line more often over the course of the season.
It felt great to get an assist and set up Simon for his second goal in our great 3-2 win over Bournemouth in the League Cup at Dean Court on Tuesday night.
I managed to get on the ball down the right, look up and put in a cross which the big man managed to get on the end of with a terrific header, which he directed into the bottom corner.
It was a goal we desperately needed after going 2-1 behind against the Premier League side and there was only five minutes of the 90 remaining.
The goal enabled us to force the game into extra time and as we all know, Simon came up with the goods once more in the extra half-hour with the winner – and his hat-trick goal – in the 111th minute.
I was really pleased for the big man to get his three goals.
It was the perfect hat-trick – his first was a fantastic left-foot finish, the second was a towering header and the third he did great to get a touch on with his right foot at full stretch.
Simon’s taken a bit of stick since he arrived at the club.
People say he doesn’t score enough goals or whatever, but I think he silenced a few of his critics with his performance.
When he gets in the box, he’s a handful for any defence and he proved that on Tuesday night against Premier League opposition.
But not only was he a nuisance in the penalty area, he ran the channels and kept hold of the ball for us up top.
He made it stick and that allowed runners to play off him.
I thought he played really well and I was really happy for him.
For me as a winger, it’s great to have someone like Simon up there especially with the way I like to play.
I just want to get the ball and cross it.
If you see the big man in there, you just have to make sure you get it in the right areas and if you do that, more often than not, he will put it in the back of the net as we saw on Tuesday night.
It was really good to finally play alongside him and I, along with the rest of the lads, were really buzzing for him.
It’s fair to say all the lads were buzzing about the result in the dressing room afterwards, especially after what happened on Saturday when we lost 5-0 at Brentford.
It goes without saying, the result at Griffin Park was really disappointing.
It was just a crazy ending to the game – a mad 15 minutes which saw us concede four times.
But that’s football, that’s the Championship.
We know that it can just take 15 minutes for what happened on Saturday, to happen.
Unfortunately, I scored the first own goal of my career – I am hoping it’s going to be the last one.
But I thought we bounced back really well against Bournemouth.
We really needed it to get morale within the squad back on track and to get the confidence up.
I think to beat a Premier League team, even if they had made 11 changes from the weekend – they still put out a pretty strong team – should put us in really good heart for the game tonight against Wigan.
The fact that we were able to make 10 changes – and I think it would have been 11 changes if Tommy Spurr had not come down with illness – shows the strength in depth we have in our squad.
I’ve said from the start of the season, we need a strong squad. We have got really good competition for places.
The lads who came in on Tuesday did really well and they have put themselves in contention for a possible start tonight against Wigan at Deepdale.
That is what the gaffer needs.
He wants everybody playing well and pushing for a starting place in the team.
On a personal level, I am keen to win a regular place in the team after being a bit in and out this season.
Obviously I have come back from a bad injury which kept me out for much of last season. I worked really hard getting myself back fit and I had a really good pre-season.
It was my first real pre-season in two years and it was really tough, but it stood me in good stead and I feel like I am back to peak fitness now.
I do little top-ups with Tom Little, the fitness trainer, but I’m raring to go now.
I am hoping to keep my place for the visit of Wigan on Friday evening and hopefully we can build on Tuesday night by getting a much-needed win in the league.
It has been frustrating this season to only have two wins on the board in the league.
Apart from Saturday, we have been losing games by the narrowest of margins and I feel that we have been unlucky not to win those games.
But it just seems like we are saying that every week.
We have got to get past that now and start putting some wins on the board.
We need to start putting a run together and hopefully we can start doing that by getting a good result on Friday.
The gaffer has got us prepared with a game-plan, we have watched the DVDs, now it’s up to us to cross that white line and put in a big performance.
Wigan have not had the best of starts to the season and are currently in the relegation zone.
But we are only a few games into the season and anything can happen yet.
So we will be prepared, expecting a tough game against the Latics but hopefully we can give our fans something to cheer about come the end of the season.