The spirit shown by the Notts County squad against Colchester United was very impressive – from the kick off our team looked interested and keen to get a result. Whilst there was still some concern with the defence for me, for the most part we looked the better outfit.
I do however have one gripe with Adam Campbell, who simply allowed the game to pass him by.
In recent weeks I had been calling for him to be given a chance, and prior to Saturday I felt that he may be suffering from a lack of confidence, but even now I find it very hard to defend his performance against the U’s. It simply wasn’t acceptable for me under this passionate Kevin Nolan side.
Saturday was Campbell’s first start in the Notts XI since Accrington Stanley back at the turn of the new year – for over 3 months he has largely been an unused sub sitting on the bench and I would acknowledge that normally he offers 100% in terms of effort but I didn’t feel we saw half of that on Saturday.
It’s disappointing to watch a player casually walk around and generally refusing to move into space or to be that player that can help create a chance.
After 8 minutes, Notts took the lead and this gave a massive boost of confidence to the approach the Magpies took.
Yet during the celebration, I noticed that out of the various players who ran as flock to congratulate Haydn Hollis for his opener – Campbell strolled very slowly but remained out of the cheerful harmony between those really up for it.
It was hard to picture what his exact role was, if he was playing as our left-sided midfielder - his pace could have been interesting to see in a direct approach.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually think he has potential and I would recall his earlier performances when we as a club were doing well. That’s the Campbell I would have liked to see feature, the player who tries to get involved and always wants the ball played to his feet.
However, after Saturday it’s hard to defend him or to acknowledge any potential that would warrant a new contract.
He’s not the only player I felt played below an acceptable level, with a replacement fit on the bench – it’s not hard to figure out who I mean.
Yet from a team performance perspective this offender was contributing to the cause and generally did look like he was trying – which I would naturally give him credit for but in Adam’s defence, I simply can’t say that.
After the player who I’ll leave from naming put in a poor challenge, Adam stood glued as a spectator – as he did for the majority of the game.
Robert Milsom noticed the space that was made available from the lack of concentration, which I personally feel the watching Campbell should have noticed – perhaps he did?
I wouldn’t take anything away from Chris Porter's finish. It was class, yet considering the improvements made across the field in terms of performance and individual responsibility, this wasn’t on. Before you think I’m blaming him for the goal, this isn’t my point – it’s the lack of effort on his behalf that annoyed me.
There’s a lot of passion being shown throughout the squad and yes it’s a large improvement, even Jorge Grant's comments to the U’s keeper made me smile after Shola Ameobi had scored his first goal of the game.
I just feel it was a lost opportunity for Campbell to stamp his mark on returning to the starting 11. I’d like to have seen him running at players or just trying to get involved more, a player like him could attract space – whereas this isn’t the case when he’s static.
He spoke after the game about it being ‘good to be back playing’ but it didn’t look like it at all to me.
I know I’m not the only Notts fan who feels this, there were plenty of comments expressed at half time and even during the game. If I sound like this harsh, you should have heard the calls for him to exit the field from where I sat.
If he retains a place against Carlisle United, I would expect to see a large improvement – as it's hard to see how he would warrant a contract extension.
As an opinion that was expressed to me, he’s had two years now and he repeatedly fails to capture a steady flow of performances – which perhaps his work rate may have saved but if this is the level we have to accept we are best releasing him.