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JOSH Cullen is just the man for City s play-off push, according to Reece Burke. The West Ham midfielder has been secured for the rest of the season after catching the eye in his first month at Valley Parade.
Phil Parkinson believes Cullen s maturity , despite his lack of experience, will be a key factor and was delighted to get his loan tied down. He said: When we bring lads in, we try to look after them as a club and we ve got a good dressing room. The lads are always very welcoming to new players and Josh has fitted in well.
He s very mature for his age. Like I say, he s got an old head on young shoulders and that s one of his real attributes.
He s made a good contribution in his first few games since he s been here and we need that competition in the squad for places.
Burke is not surprise to see his pal make such an immediate impact in League One.
He s small and looks like a school kid but on the pitch he s like a man, said the defender. I ve played loads of games in the under-21s with Josh and he s a leader, a really good player. Like fellow Hammers graduate Burke, Cullen arrived at City with a smattering of senior experience following two starts in the Europa League. Parkinson added: If you look at Reece, he played some games in the Premier League last season. Obviously Josh has had the taste in European football so it wasn t completely new to them.
Ideally, I think those are the players you want who have had a taste of it.
That s really important because sometimes the first few games at first-team level can be a bit of a shock in terms of the intensity in which they are played.
But those two have done well for us and it s good for West Ham as well.
I m not a big fan of the (Premier) under-21 league. I watch a lot of the games and they are played at a very slow pace and there s very little goalmouth action.
I don t think they are a great grounding for players going into league football. You can only play so much of that and you ve got to get out into the real world if you are going to develop.
Burke has already established himself as a big player in City s season but admits he needs to contribute with more goals. He scored against Burton in midweek, following up after Jon McLaughlin parried Billy Clarke s shot to claim his first at Valley Parade. Burke admitted: I was due a goal because I haven t scored for a while. But I was lucky enough to get in at the back post so it was good.
I ve always struggled with goal-scoring, to be honest. That s one of my targets at the beginning of the season because top class defenders get goals as well.
It s good to chip in and that s why I was buzzing to get my second one of the season. It was a big game and we needed a result.
The win put City on the brink of the top six ahead of this afternoon s home clash with struggling Doncaster. Burke, whose loan extends to cover the play-offs, said: It would be a great achievement for me if I do get to play in them.
Those are the games you want to play in when everyone is watching and you ve got the chance to impress.
The experienced players will be all right but obviously the young lads, including me, will have to deal with the pressure.
But that s part of the experience and you need to keep a cool head. Meanwhile, Jamie Proctor is a doubt for today because of a tight hamstring.
*JAMES Hanson missed out on the SkyBet League One player of the month title for February.
The City striker was on the four-name shortlist after scoring three times, including twice at Peterborough on his 300th career appearance.
But the judges went with Millwall goalkeeper Jordan Archer, who conceded only three goals in five games.
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