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McEveley - 'I'll play anywhere'

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: December 08, 2009

Jay McEveley - Derby County

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JAY McEveley is due to start again at centre-back for Derby County tonight — and says he is happy to play anywhere as long as he gets a game.

The 24-year-old left-back was outstanding as the Rams drew 2-2 with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

With a thigh injury likely to keep Shaun Barker sidelined for the next few weeks and Miles Addison (foot) and Jake Buxton (groin) still out, the former Blackburn Rovers man will keep his place, beginning with tonight’s trip to take on Preston North End, kick-off 7.45pm.

He said: “It would have been nice to carry on at left-back but Shaun didn’t make it.I feel comfortable playing there and I am happy to play anywhere on the pitch.

“I haven’t heard where I’m playing tonight. As long as the gaffer’s got faith in me, I’m happy. I will stay there as long as he wants me to.

“I haven’t played much at centre-half — I’ve always been a left-back. But I can do a job at centre- half though. I couldn’t really say what’s my strongest position.

It’s up to the manager.” McEveley, who had a loan spell at Deepdale last season, says Derby need to be wary of a side who can turn on the style at times.

He said: “I wasn’t getting a look-in last season so I got away and played six games for Preston.It’s a good set-up there and the manager (Alan Irvine) is brilliant. I knew the assistant from my time in the youth team at Blackburn, too.

“They play some good stuff and on their day they are a very good side. Weʼve got to be on our toes because they can play good football.

“I just wanted to get games at the time and I was grateful to Alan Irvine. When the gaffer came in here I was 100 per cent fully fit and it was lucky because I got a run of games at the end of the season.”

The popular Scouser, who is playing in a mask to protect the cheekbone he broke in the 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough, is confident heading into tonightʼs match — but thinks the Rams have to fight like they did on Saturday.

He said: “Weʼve got to (keep the tempo up). We know we are fit enough to do it.The Pride Park crowd gives us that extra bit of energy. Away is a bit different. On Saturday we were going at every opportunity.

“But weʼve got to get the balance right home and away — weʼve got to press at the right times.That comes through communication from Stephen Bywater, the back four and forward through the team. We canʼt be sitting back away from home.

“We know what weʼve got to do. Weʼve got to be in playersʼ faces for 90 minutes.” McEveley recently became a father with the birth of baby boy Harlow James - and is in the early stages of negotiating a new contract as his present one expires in the summer.

He said: “There have been bits and bobs (about a new deal). The gaffer has said he wants me to stay here. I love being here and I am settled and donʼt want to be upping sticks and moving. I love the fans and the stadium and really enjoy being here.

“Harlow was born on Monday so Iʼve had a few sleepless nights but I got my head down by Thursday and Friday.

“I am made up and over the moon - itʼs part of me and itʼs my family. Iʼve got a little niece so Iʼm used to changing nappies and that.

“Itʼs not as hard as everyone has made out! “But heʼll find his lungs soon and will start waking up.

“When Iʼve got football in mornings the missus will have to sort it!” Paul Green (hamstring) is doubtful for tonightʼs match, but Dean Leacock should be fit despite a neck injury he suffered in the warm-up on Saturday.

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