GARETH Roberts has hailed the performance of understudy Michael Hoganson during his enforced absence from the Derby County side last month.
The veteran full-back missed three games following his red card against Hull City, but returned to the Rams’ starting XI for Friday night’s 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace at Pride Park.
Hoganson, 19, started all three of those games and impressed at times before picking up a slight injury against Watford, and Roberts, 35, revealed that he had passed on a few tips to a player 16 years his junior.
Roberts said: “My suspension gave Michael a great opportunity to come in, and he has played a few games and done fantastically well.
“I am always going to try and help any of my teammates out, but with Michael, I just talked to him about who he was up against, to try and give him and insight into what they do, and what position they like to get in.
“Obviously any winger he was coming up against was new for him, so I was just hoping there were a few bits of information he could take in that might help him out.”
The reverse against Palace was the Rams’ first at home in 2013, but Roberts believes that the team have deserved more after a string of good performances have gone relatively unrewarded.
He said: “We are all sitting in the changing room after the game bitterly disappointed, because we cannot believe we didn’t get a goal.
“They got their bodies on the line and got in the way of the ball at the vital moments, and I think that is the way things have been going for us at the minute; we have been playing some great football, but just haven’t been able to put the ball in the back of the net.
“Their goal came from a block and it has flown out to Bolasie who has rounded the goalkeeper.
“From their perspective, the ball couldn’t have landed at a better place; the lad is through and he has finished it off.
“I don’t think Sammo could have hit his penalty any better, it has hit the keeper’s elbow then somehow deflected onto the crossbar, but that summed up our night.
“When you are at the top end of the table everything seems to go for you; you hang in there, whilst the opposition hit the bar and shots fall narrowly wide.
“They rode their luck, which is really frustrating for us.
“That is probably one of our best performances for quite a while, and to get nothing from the game was really disappointing.”