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Before You Start an Unruly Mob...

...and march to the Reebok with pitchforks and torches to demand the head of Owen Coyle for playing a friendly with non-league Newport County and Chung-Yong Lee picking up a long term injury as a result of said friendly, please do keep in mind that it's not the manager's fault.

Our good friend Quentin made a point yesterday that by playing a side outside of the League, the risks for injury to players are greater. The statement started a bit of a debate but there is some reason to it. To be frank, the further down the English football ladder you go, the less skillful, and often times less experienced the players are. There's a reason that they're in a Conference side and not the Championship or the Premier League. Because these players are not as skillful or experienced, they are likey not used to the pace or skill of the Premier League game, especially of a player who controls his part of the field like Chung-Yong Lee does.

Let's also not forget that injuries happen outside of matches with lower league teams. Long term injury took Stuart Holden away from the team twice, one in an international friendly against one of the world's best teams and one against the best side in the Premier League. For those who somehow forgot, the first time Holden was hurt as he just managed to break into the first team was against Holland in an international friendly between the United States and the Netherlands in Amsterdam. Nigel De Jong, who is a (highly rated) thug, went in hard on Holden. Too hard. The second time is still fresh in our minds but again, a little refresher: Manchester United, Jonny Evans, Holden's knee.

So before you rush the gates of our home ground, just keep in mind that a friendly against a lower side is not a bad idea simply because players can get hurt. That can happen anywhere, at any time, and against the world's best clubs or national teams.