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'Mac the Nice' shows mental steel

'Mac the Nice' shows mental steel

Centre-back Paddy McCarthy's best behaviour was as great a service to City as his rousing playing performance in the vital Championship League win over Wolves yesterday.

McCarthy is closing in on a two-match ban because of accumulated yellow cards but his self-dicipline could be vital over the coming weeks.

The signs are there that caretaker manager Rob Kelly has discovered City's soundest centre-back combination in the two Paddy's Kisnorbo and McCarthy.

If so their continued partnership could be key to City's survival.

That's because City are not only three points clear of Brighton in the relegation places but they have a goals difference that is 10 better than the seasiders.

If City stay mean that could be a hard gap to close in 14 remaining League matches and it is clear that McCarthy realises it by the way he's now seen acting as peacemaker and seems to have cut out virtually all his rash challenges and belligerence.

McCarthy clearly takes his captain's role seriously and has shown himself capable of making further demands of himself first, this time in terms of temperament.

City avoided collecting any bookings against Wolves, indeed the match was a rare one in that there were no bookings at all and that in a contest that was always combative.

That isn't to suggest Bristol referee Lee Probert didn't have control, he did. It was just that he allowed the game to flow where possible and made sure that his occasional warnings were heeded.

With some of the woefully poor examples of refereeing we have seen at the Walkers this season perhaps the authorities should show a video of the City match as an example of how games really should be controlled.

Quietly, effectively but with as little interference and melodrama as possible.

Well done referee and well done Paddy McCarthy.

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Date:Sunday February 5 2006
Time: 3:01PM

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