Barrie McKay’s only start under Aitor Karanka came nearly six weeks ago and since then we have barely seen him on the bench, let alone on the pitch.
So, it was with great interest that I read our manager`s comments on the 23-year-old yesterday, It seems the Scotsman still remains part of his future plans despite his lack of match time. He was quoted by the Nottingham Post as saying:
‘Yes, he is. But when I pick the players, I expect a certain kind of game. I plan the game in my head; I plan the possible substitutions and the possible problems we might face. I decided to select the players I did (at Norwich), because they are coming together. Barrie is doing really well, he is training very well. But it is true that when he played last time, he was not at his best.’
The winger has been somewhat overshadowed in recent weeks by loan signing Joe Lolley, but even more so by Matty Cash after the youngsters two goals in his last three appearances.
In that regard, we haven`t been missing the Scottish international, despite him playing a key role for us earlier in the season with a number of goals and assists. However, even the manager feels he could have done with him for the stalemate against Norwich.
After the game, Aitor was adamant that just by having “one or two wingers” on the bench they could have come out of the game at Carrow Road with three points. It at least shows that the wide man remains in the coach`s thinking.
With others performing well, a start for McKay still doesn`t look likely currently, but I see him playing a more prominent role coming off the bench in the next few weeks, especially after the manager`s comments about his attitude in training.
His long-term future is harder to anticipate. He was after all the previous coach`s signing and the new man in charge will have his own ideas about selection. It would be easy for him to head back to Scotland, and a return north of the border in the summer is certainly a possibility.
For me though, I think he deserves at least one chance under Karanka to show the Spaniard what he can do. We are safe in mid-table, and the gaffer should look to fully assess every member of his squad before deciding on their futures. If he fails to impress then fair enough, we should offload him, but I think he does merit some more game time between now and the end of the season.