O’Connor says he can step-in at the back if called upon
Kevin O’Connor believes he can be the answer to The Bees’ defensive issues if selected to play against Hartlepool on Saturday.
The club-captain made his first appearance since November in the 2-2 draw against Sheffield United on Tuesday night.
With Tony Craig failing to overturn his three game ban following his red card against The Blades, O’Connor says that he is ready to step into the void if called upon.
“I’ve got to be ready,” said Kevin.
“I think Tuesday has probably helped me in that respect to get a few minutes but I will be ready for the game Saturday if needed.
“I played at centre-back in the Development Squad last week and I’m glad I did because when I came on I wasn’t too unfamiliar with the position.
“All credit to them putting me in there as I was needed.
“I’ve played there before a few years ago in the first-team but that was mainly if there was an injury during the game and I’ve had to drop in there and help out.
“I was up against two big experienced strikers but I had three good players around me who have played the whole season in their positions so the four of us got through it.”
The Bees travel to the North-East to face a Hartlepool side whose relegation was confirmed on Tuesday night following Oldham’s victory over Yeovil.
Kevin insists The Bees squad are not taking anything for granted in the build-up to the game and are expecting a tough battle against The Pools.
“It is a massive game and I know they have been relegated but sometimes that means teams can play with freedom,” said Kevin.
“It’s on Sky so they will want to look good on that as well.
“It will be a really tough game for us but if we go there and do what we have done all season hopefully we can get a result.
“We have to win Saturday to keep things alive so if we win Saturday then we can focus on the game afterwards against Doncaster.”
Tuesday was Kevin’s re-introduction to the first-team following a five-month injury lay-off picked up against Portsmouth in November.
Despite being down to nine men, Bradley Wright-Phillips scored a late equaliser against fellow promotion chasing Sheffield United to secure a 2-2 draw in a game which saw four penalties and three red cards.
The club-captain, who is fourth on The Bees all-time appearance list, said he was happy to be back but admits that it wasn’t the easiest game to make his comeback in.
“It was great to be back,” said Kevin.
“It was lovely to get on but it was an absolutely crazy game.
“I was happy to come on and get the point that we more than deserved.
“It was weird. It was so loud on the pitch and there were so many decisions going on.
“They scored and it was all about keeping concentration.
“We all knew how big Tuesday was before the game.
“With everything that happened during the game we felt a bit of injustice with the sending’s off, especially Tony’s.
“It was tough but we dug in and the character was brilliant in getting the draw with nine men.
“We just had to keep our heads and make sure we didn’t concede again, which is important for goal difference, and we always looked dangerous on the break.
“There was a lot of space out there at the end and it was a big pitch as well.
“It could have possibly helped us because we are a team that likes to find space and pass the ball.
“I felt we looked so good going forward, even with nine men, that every time we attacked we looked dangerous.
“It was brilliant when Bradley Wright-Phillips scored because it keeps it in our own hands.
“When Sam Saunders missed the penalty I thought that could have been our opportunity gone but all credit to Bradley, it was a great bit of skill and that’s what he’s all about.”
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