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Nathan Ralph ready to fight for Yeovil Town starting spot

By Western Gazette - Yeovil  |  Posted: September 21, 2012

Nathan Ralph clears on his full debut against AFC Bournemouth. The left back has replaced suspended captain Jamie McAllister in the last three games. Picture by Mike Kunz

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Nathan Ralph is ready to battle to extend his run in the first team even if the chance came earlier than he expected.

The left back has featured in Yeovil Town’s last three games against AFC Bournemouth, MK Dons and Leyton Orient as captain Jamie McAllister was banned.

However, the Scot is available for Saturday’s npower League One clash with Sheffield United having served his punishment for a red card received for violent conduct at Bristol Rovers earlier this month.

Nineteen-year-old Ralph said before his opportunity arose he was pleased to be an impact player as a substitute, but was now ready to give manager Gary Johnson a selection headache.

He said: “All I can do is do my best. If that is good enough hopefully I can carry on when the three games is up, but whatever happens, happens. I can only do my best and play my game.

“Battling for your place is what it is all about and is how players make their name, so we will see how it goes.”

On his early introduction to senior football, Ralph said: “If I am honest, I wasn’t expecting it at all. I thought maybe in the first season but not this early on in that first season.

“It is a great opportunity to make my name this early on. I can play at left mid or left back and when I have come on I have shown that that is part of my game. I have enjoyed doing that, trying to change the game. Obviously everybody wants to start but I have enjoyed coming on as well.”

Ralph first worked with Johnson at Peterborough United before hooking up again upon his release in the summer. The pacy left-footer said he was learning plenty from McAllister.

“Jamie is very experienced, has played a lot of games and won promotions,” said Ralph. “I watch him a lot in training and in games, trying to take a lot from his game and put it into mine. I am learning from him all the time.”

Ralph was one of few players to earn credit from Yeovil’s last outing on home soil, when Cherries over-powered their Somerset rivals on the way to a 1-0 win. However, Johnson said he was quick to re-assure the young full back on the quality of his display.

“He showed that he has the fitness of a man now and that he is not a kid any more,” the boss said. “He showed that and he certainly wasn’t a player that was uncomfortable on the ball.

“I thought he showed a lot of assurance on the ball. When you get beaten everybody gets tarred with the same brush of not doing enough, but I did make a point of bringing him into the office with Terry and Darren and telling Ralphy ‘we know it was your debut and actually you weren’t that bad’.

“That’s what a lot of them have got to be. A lot of players in our squad like Archange (Nkumu), like (Lewis) Young, like Ralphy and like Keanu (Marsh-Brown) have never been regulars in any team and some of them haven’t played in the League.

“We are having people like Sam Foley who had his chance and took it and is now looking like a comfortable League One player, if not more. That’s what happens but we have got to give them a go.

“That’s the squad that we have got to use, they are all good players but they have just got to adjust to the level.”

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