Stoke City came away from Blackburn with a more-than-useful point against their in-form and play-off chasing hosts.
There were plenty of fine individual performance to contribute towards a solid collective for Michael O’Neill’s men.
NATHAN COLLINS OR JAMES CHESTER?
Collins replaced Chester in the heart of O’Neill’s defence and takes due credit for the clean sheet which followed.
He remained a diligent figure from start to finish and due credit to the excellent Danny Batth alongside him for coaxing/coaching the young Irishman whenever necessary.
Collins did enough to warrant keeping his place… in normal circumstances.
But O’Neill genuinely did rest Chester and also revealed that it might have been a case of horses for courses by bringing in the bigger Collins to cope with Blackburn’s physical threat.
At Luton, however, he might prefer to go with Chester’s greater experience and that would be harsh on Collins, but you suspect his time will come, certainly given the evidence of his performances so far in the first team.
TIME FOR TYRESE TO TAKE A BREAK?
Tyrese Campbell never really got going at Ewood Park last night.
It wasn’t all this fault, not by any means, because it was that kind of game and he might justifiably argue that chances were hardly being put on a plate for him.
If he did look a little jaded, both mentally and physically perhaps, we shouldn’t be too surprised.
The past couple of months has seen his first extended run in the senior side and we are in the midst of another three-game week which asks much of any young player like Campbell.
Inconsistency comes with the territory at this stage of a player’s career and it will be interesting to see if the manager thinks Luton away on Saturday is the moment to use him as an impact player once again.
But only for a game or two, hopefully, before he returns to provide that pace and aggression this Stoke side needs.
RIVALS KEEP WINNING
What is it with Barnsley, Luton and particularly Wigan?
Can’t they accept that they were meant to be relegated and just take their fate gracefully, instead of all these crazy results they’ve been producing of late?
Stoke would have been almost home and dry had those three done the decent thing instead of winning at places like Leeds and Fulham in recent times.
But it’s not all bad. Their results have simultaneously kept a tight check on the likes of Hull and Reading to leave nine points covering the bottom nine clubs. Talk about it being tight.
And the other knock-on effect is that it’s prevented any kind of complacency creeping into the ranks at places like Stoke City.
And long may that continue.