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Kelvin Davis should not be blamed for Saints' poor start to season
KELVIN Davis seems to have been cast as the fall guy for Saints’ poor start to the season, but it’s a role of which he is undeserving.
The 35-year-old keeper was left out of the Saints team to face Aston Villa on Saturday with 20-yearold Paulo Gazzaniga drafted into the side in his place.
The youngster had only a handful of games in League Two to his name before the clash and so there was no doubting the size of this risk.
Nigel Adkins can point to the result as a vindication of his decision, but for Davis his axing must feel like a very bitter pill to swallow.
It could only have got worse as the club confirmed only hours after the Villa game that they had signed Artur Boruc.
In the space of just a week Davis could, conceivably, have gone from the club’s undisputed number one keeper to third choice.
Of course, no player should ever be guaranteed a place in the starting line-up.
But by the very fact of Davis’ omission against Villa, and the signing of a new man, it seemed as if the blame for 14 goals conceded in four games was largely being pinned on him.
You will assume that will be publicly denied, but actions always speak louder than words.
Wow, that is harsh.
Looking back over those 14 goals there has not been a single one which has occurred as a direct result of what you might deem a goalkeeping howler.
There were probably three of the 14 where you could fairly question whether Davis might have done better but, make no mistake, he was a man woefully exposed in those four games.
Davis could have been forgiven for looking at a few of his teammates and wondering how it was him that felt the chop when a few of them had made several errors which had directly led to goals being conceded.
The answer for Davis, though, may be part of the reason for the poor start in the first place.
Some of those players are in positions where there is no direct, easy replacement waiting to come in.
Think what you like about the risk of throwing Gazzaniga in, Saints at least recruited a highly promising young keeper this summer with the intention of getting him in the side at some point.
The scouting and recruitment department identified him and brought him in.
They also did a good job with some of the forward players that have arrived at the club and full back Nathaniel Clyne , who has been very impressive.
However, the club failed in its general strengthening of the defence.
Many of the goals have come from errors in that department but the lack of adequate recruitment across the back line has left little room for manoeuvre when it comes being able to replace them.
Instead, it was Davis that went.
At 35, Davis was never the long-term future for the club in the goalkeeping department.
It would be wrong to pretend otherwise.
But you could understand if a man who has stuck by Saints through a lot and been named as the top keeper in his division by his peers for the last three seasons as Saints climbed back to the top flight felt a little like he had been hung out to dry.
Ultimately results are all that matter and few people will probably be too vexed after the Villa win.
But, even so, let there not be any revisionist history that the season up until Saturday was Davis’ fault.
It was not.