Port Vale: Team player Williamson happy to play his part.
B EN Williamson admits his heart sank when Sam Morsy got his marching orders against Rochdale.
Williamson's first thoughts were for the team of course, but he also knew he was likely to be the fall guy as Micky Adams reshuffled his 10-man side.
Williamson has only started two league games this season – and both times he's been substituted following a sending off.
The striker was replaced by Joe Davis after just 31 minutes at Northampton a fortnight ago because Micky Adams needed to bring on a central defender after John McCombe was red-carded.
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Williamson would only be human if he didn't utter at least a, 'Gordon Bennett' when he saw his number come up on Tuesday, immediately after Morsy's 68th-minute red card.
In this case, he was replaced by midfielder Darren Murphy.
He said: "I did look over to the bench and think 'oh, no'.
"I knew it would be me, but there is nothing I can do, it's about what's best for the team."
Williamson is competing with Louis Dodds for a place at Southend today.
If he doesn't get in the starting line-up, he might at least get on for his 13th substitute appearance in the league this season.
Williamson has still managed to muster three league goals, plus one in the FA Cup, so isn't doing so badly.
However, he is full of admiration for 17-goal top scorer Tom Pope.
He said: "I would rather be in Tom's shoes scoring all the goals! But his record is great credit to him.
"If I'd scored 17 goals in a season I'd be really happy. Tom has done really well so far. To score that many already is incredible and something for me to learn from. When Marc Richards left there was a lot of questions about who was going to score the goals... and Tom has stepped up and done that for us.
"He is going to be the lead marksman for us this season, so if I get the chance to work with him I have to prove we can work together.
"We are totally different players, so it should work in theory.
"He is more about holding the ball up and winning headers and flick-ons and I can work off him, gambling from his flick-ons."
Even if Williamson has to settle for a place on the bench at Roots Hall this afternoon, he can take some consolation from Micky Adams's assessment of his efforts so far.
The manager said was impressed with Williamson's performance against Rochdale.
He said: "As a centre-forward he will be judged on goals, like Tom Pope is. If Ben can chip in with a few goals when he starts then great.
"But I am pleased with what he did the other night. I know people will say he missed a few chances, but you have to be there to miss them.
"He at least made the keeper work. Once he gets his regular starting berth I am sure the goals will come."
Meanwhile, Adams says he'll offer Morsy a fresh start, despite heavily criticising his young midfielder for a his red-card challenge against Rochdale. Adams branded Morsy's tackle on Jason Kennedy as cowardly and laid the blame with his player as ten-man Vale then surrendered a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2.
The 21-year-old has been fined two weeks' wages and read the Riot Act by his furious manager.
Morsy serves the first of a three-match ban today, but will be heartened to hear that Adams won't bear a grudge.
The Vale boss said: "He's just got to learn his lessons. The one thing that you always have to have in teams is trust.
"You have to trust the individuals to do the job that you set them. There's no doubt the boy has ability, but I have got to trust him.
"I hope he takes everything on board because I will make him a better player.
"You always have to have that trust in players. That's why Anthony Griffith was so good. He couldn't pass a ball like Sam Morsy, but I trusted him because he went out there and did the job."
But can Morsy win that trust back?
"Of course he can. As a football manager you don't bear grudges.
"You have to say your piece and they have to understand where you are coming from and respect you. Then, you start again."