Notts County: Boss Chris Kiwomya not scared of big decisions
CHRIS Kiwomya says he's not scared of making big decisions now he's in the hot-seat at Notts County.
The 43-year-old is in his first job in management after being put in charge at Meadow Lane, until the end of the season.
But he insists that does not mean he is going to shy away from making brave calls, even if it makes him unpopular with his players.
He has already shown he is going to do it his way by leaving out the likes of joint-leading scorers Yoann Arquin and Francois Zoko and key midfielder Jeff Hughes during his first five games in charge – and he said: "I know I'm not going to be popular, but I've got to try to win games and I have to go with what I think is right."
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Kiwomya's decision to drop Arquin and Zoko looks to have worked a treat.
The duo have been sparked back into life because Frenchman Arquin came off the subs' bench and scored his first goal in 12 games to rescue a 1-1 draw at Walsall and Zoko was the Magpies' super sub against Bury at Meadow Lane last Friday night, scoring a quick-fire double in the second half in a 4-1 win.
Hughes also came off the bench and almost scored a winner for Notts in a 1-1 midweek draw against third-placed Tranmere Rovers, crashing a shot against a post from inside the penalty area.
It will now be interesting to see if Kiwomya restores the Northern Ireland international to the Magpies' midfield against Carlisle United at Meadow Lane today (3pm) – and who will get the nod in attack between Arquin, Zoko and on-loan duo John Cofie and Jacob Blyth.
It is certainly a game Notts need to win to keep their play-off hopes alive in League One because they are currently nine points outside the top-six in tenth place with 12 games of the season left.
The odds look good on them getting the three points they badly need because they are unbeaten in four games and also claimed their biggest win of the entire season against Carlisle at Brunton Park back in October, winning 4-0 with goals from Hughes, influential captain Neal Bishop, Zoko and Jamal Campbell-Ryce, who completed the rout from the penalty spot.
It was Bishop who rescued a point for the Magpies against Tranmere on Tuesday night, scoring his sixth goal of the season in the second half, after Notts had fallen behind for the sixth game in a row.
With Hughes hitting the woodwork after Bishop's equaliser, Kiwomya still can't believe his side didn't come away from the Wirral with a victory.
"We're disappointed we didn't win because I thought we were the better team," he said.
"We went behind, but I didn't think we were that bad in the first half.
"I thought we were pretty good. We just didn't have that killer instinct in the box that we needed.
"If you don't get that goal, it leaves the opposition still in the game and they got the goal and we went in at half-time wondering how we were losing.
"But the lads dug deep again and did well.
"I told them we were the better team at half-time and that we had to be patient.
"I told them that if we didn't give away another goal I thought we would go on and win and we should have done – but we'll take a point."
Bishop scored with a great glancing header on 74 minutes, after Alan Judge had swung a free-kick dangerously into the penalty area.
"It was a great goal by Bish, he's a good player," said Kiwomya.
"He's a good finisher and he's got good technique and I think he can score more goals, but it's about getting the balance right in the team.
"People talk about him closing the opposition down and being wholehearted, but he's a lot more than that.
"He's got a lot more strings to his bow than closing players down.
"He can pass it and he can finish as well.
"We were attack-minded and even when I changed it in the second half I was telling my players to get forward because we wanted to win the game.
"We didn't go there for a point; we went there for the win and we're disappointed we didn't it.
"The players were not sitting in the dressing room after the game thinking it was a good result; we're going how did we not win it."
Kiwomya will be hoping his players are not sat dejected in the home dressing room tonight thinking exactly the same thing.