Craig Priest blog: Paul Cox has the nack with gambles

NMAC12-1280-1''STags Fan Craig Priest
NMAC12-1280-1''STags Fan Craig Priest

This week Luke O’Neill sealed the move which we all knew was coming, signing for Championship outfit Burnley on Friday.

Last season’s player of the season thoroughly deserves his move onto a bigger stage and will undoubtedly shine and become a Turf Moor favourite.

Luke’s departure is, of course, credit to his talent. However, I think Paul Cox should be praised too, with Luke just one of many he’s picked up from the side of the road and given a new lease of life.

At Leicester Luke never had chance to settle, getting only a handful of appearances over three years as managers came and went.

Cox opted to chance on O’Neill, getting him settled in the local area and playing regularly – a gamble that more than paid off.

You can say the same about Matt Green, pushed from pillar to post at Oxford – one season of settled football and look at the return.

Gary Roberts, too, arrived troubled from Port Vale.

We gave him a controlled, settled environment and he gave us that extra spark to reach the play-offs. Ben Hutchinson is another, having been at the big time and lost it all.

Fair enough, we’ve not seen the transformation yet. But we will with him under Cox’s guidance. He just has that natural knack.

How refreshing a thought is that?