BROWNE ON THE BALL: Boston United boss Drury shows his ruthless side

Kallum Smith has been loaned out to Grantham.
Kallum Smith has been loaned out to Grantham.

The honeymoon period is over. Now it’s time to see Graham Drury’s ruthless side.

After four games in charge of the Pilgrims (I write this ahead of last night’s Harrogate Town fixture) the new Boston United boss has seen enough to decide changes must be made.

And first to feel his wrath is Jason Stokes.

The left winger is a fans’ favourite at York Street for his direct approach and fearless attempts to run at opponents.

But he became the first casualty of the managerial change, the first to be released.

And then there are those who have been farmed out on loan – Ricky Drury to Sleaford Town, Charley Sanders to Spalding United and Kallum Smith to Grantham Town.

Smith to the Gingerbreads could be seen as a deal sweetener after the Lincolnshire rivals allowed Phil Watt to terminate his contract in order to rejoin Drury.

But it is here where the comparisons begin between the two left-sided wide men.

On Monday night, when the departures were announced, United’s small place in the world of social media was going crazy in support of Stokes.

“One of our best players has been released,” wrote one fan. Another chipped in with: “Can’t believe we’ve let Stokes go but only send Smith out on loan.”

Indeed, it’s easy to fall for Stokes’ charm. He’ll huff and puff for the cause and supporters just love to see a player waltz past and opponent.

Smith, on the other hand, is a typical winger: He can can drift in and out of games. He can be mind-bogglingly fun to watch. He can be downright frustrating.

But in this case, the stats tell a story.

Stokes has made 13 starts and eight sub appearances for the Pilgrims.

In that time, his mazy runs enthralled the crowd, but they didn’t lead to a single goal.

Stokes’ work rate could never be questioned, and it could also be argued he was never given a fair run in the side to find his feet.

But he leaves the club with one assist (the corner which Mark Jones headed home against Droylsden) and no goals to his name.

Smith has made seven starts, plus 13 appearances from the bench.

In that time, he has scored once (against Altrincham), and were it nor for a whistle happy ref in the Colwyn Bay match, that would have been two.

He also has six assists to his name this campaign.

Judging by this, it would be fair to assume that Drury has been more impressed by the output, rather than the popularity, of the two Pilgrims and acted accordingly.

On the flipside, you could say neither player has had a regular run in the side because neither of them is first choice. Both managers have preferred Ben Fairclough (four goals, four assists) on the left, while Jordan Smith, Marc Newsham and Mark Jones can also (grudgingly) be utilised in this position.

Like it or not, Drury is the manager and it’s his decision as to who stays and goes.

‘Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown’ was what the eponymous King Henry IV states in Shakespeare’s play, summing up the difficult decisions that await those in power.

And I’m sure Drury didn’t make these decisions lightly.

As Jason Lee’s tenure at York Street proved, your future is judged by the decisions you make.

Drury obviously believes he can get more from other players, and that’s up to him.

Supporters were equally as taken aback when Ricky Miller wasn’t kept on by Rob Scott and Paul Hurst, and look what they went on to achieve.

Can Drury replicate that? Only time - and his decisions - will tell.