HE has waited a very long time for a decent run in the first-team but the moment has finally arrived for right-back Daniel Leadbitter.
Signed on a free from Newcastle United two summers ago, Danny has played second fiddle to Joe Oastler for the last 15 months but he impressed for much of the JPT loss to Yeovil last week.
Danny’s next chance came within four days as Joe was sent off at Bristol Rovers on Saturday, forcing manager Martin Ling into a half-time reshuffle. Like those pesky buses, football opportunities come in waves and Danny will replace the suspended Oastler for tomorrow night’s visit of league leaders Gillingham to Plainmoor.
“People know what I’m like when it comes to players in the building,” said manager Martin Ling. “When the position becomes available, I don’t like moving the team around to accommodate someone out of position.
“We have two right-backs in Joe and Danny, and Danny gets the opportunity tomorrow because Joe is unavailable. It would be the same on the other side; if Kevin Nicholson was out, Tom Cruise would fill in.
“Danny looked nervy in the first 20 minutes against Yeovil last week and then had a decent 70 minutes. He did well when he came on at Bristol Rovers and looked like a real athlete.
“He was part of a second-half team that did really well with ten men. The pressure was certainly off him because we were 2-0 down with ten men and it will be a real test for him tomorrow, as he will be up against Chris Whelpdale, who has played in the Championship with Peterborough.
“We will find a few more answers about Daniel tomorrow but this is the first time he’s had a run in the team, and he’s done ok so far.”