Friday, November 09, 2007

Let your hair down and give us a smile!

Stuart Brennan

RORY Patterson has been given some odd advice by his FC United boss Karl Marginson: "Grow your hair and smile a bit more!"

The Rebels' leading scorer - with 16 in 15 games this season - is also top of their bookings chart, with eight yellows, just two short of a two-match ban.

Patterson has already missed four games through suspension this season, three for a red card in a pre-season friendly and one for totting up five bookings.

And Marginson believes that body language may be the key for the 23-year-old Ulsterman, who is leading the chase to be the first player to rack up 100 games for the club - he is currently on 95, three ahead of defender Rob Nugent.

"I have had a chat about the way referees will perceive him," said Marginson, whose side will go top of the UniBond League first division north if they win at Clitheroe tomorrow.

"Body language is something he can address. He can still have aggression and a will to win without being so demonstrative towards the officials.

"A lad I used to play with in the youth ranks at Manchester United called Gary Vaughan used to wear his hair really long, and whenever he had it shaved off, he would pick up more bookings, so appearance plays a big part in it.

"Also when you see Rory running up to refs, shoulders back, arms pumping, it influences whether they reach for a card or not. A little smile, a word and a handshake for the opponent, can go a long way."

Vice-captain Patterson, who is 23, has been donning the captain's armband in the absence of the injured Dave Chadwick, another ploy by Marginson to calm him down.