Little faces up to first test after disappointing defeat

BERWICK’S caretaker manager Ian Little admits he is on ‘a massive learning curve,’ and after watching his side lose for the first time under his control at the weekend he says it is vitally important they bounce back this Saturday when they travel to take on Peterhead.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 8th December 2011, 9:58 am

“I know they haven’t had the best of seasons so far,” he said, “but Peterhead is never an easy place to go.

“We weren’t at our best today, but this is a massive learning curve for me and the important thing is that I know I have still learned something today which hopefully I can take into the next match.”

After three wins and a draw in his opening four games in charge, Little said it was naturally disappointing to lose 2-0 at home to Clyde.

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“We started off with three up top,” he said, “but I realised early on it wasn’t working and it was only when we went back to a 4-4-2 formation that we picked up a bit.

“One or two players just weren’t at the level they have been in recent games.

“We looked okay going forward, but in that situation we have to be able to defend as well.

“We managed to create a few chances, but really we didn’t have the final spark and whilst we got a few shots in I think it’s fair to saw we never really tested their keeper.”

Litle said he had no complaints about the penalty which led to the opening goal - “It was a definite penalty,” he said.

But he was upset at the manner in which they conceded the second goal.

“Some people might look at it and say it came about because I had taken the left back off and replaced him with a striker,” he said. “But we were trailing 1-0 with just over ten minutes remaining and at the time I saw it as a positive step.

“It’s okay saying that in hindsight, but during the game decisions have to be made.

“I felt the way the game was going if we had managed to get a goal we might have got a second as well.

“This was my first defeat as manager and of course it’s hard to take. I have to look at myself and say is there anything I could have done different but as I have said, I am still on a learning curve here.

“It’s a set-back, there’s no denying that, but we have to accept it and move onto the next one.”

Little now has three remaining games in which to stake his claim for the vacant managerial post at Shielfield.

The Board have given him until the end of the year before making a decision which makes the matches against Peterhead (away), Alloa (home) and Annan (away) during the rest of December all the more important.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Ian McCaldon has quit Berwick after asking to leave the club.

He made the decision last week due to a recurring back injury which meant he hasn’t played a single game this season.

The 37 year-old, who is a qualified fitness instructor and sports psychologist, informed caretaker manager Ian Little of the situation after doctors were unable to give him a timescale as to when he might be able to return to action.

McCaldon sustained a slipped disc when he was getting out of bed during the summer.

He had hoped to return to training at some point, but the uncertainty over his future meant the former Peterhead and Ross County stopper, who also had spells in England with Oxford and Chester, was left with no option but to ask to be released from his contract.

Little said: “Ian hasn’t played all season and with no forseeable date as to his possible return he felt it was best he left.

“It’s an unfortunate situation, but one we have to accept and we wish him well for the future.”

Little says he is now looking at the goalkeeping situation as he realises he does not have adequate cover for Jamie Barclay.

“We are covering with youngsters at the moment, but I realise that in the long-term we need to get someone else in and it is something I am looking at.”

Meanwhile, long-term injury victim Fraser McLaren made his comeback at the weekend when he played for the Reserves. McLaren has been out of action for the past six weeks with a broken toe.