After an impressive comeback on Saturday against Boreham Wood, Danny Searle’s men return to the EBB Stadium to host Chesterfield FC on Tuesday evening.
The draw showed a lot of character from The Shots, but Searle insists his side will go into the game full of confidence after a strong second-half display.
Q: Danny, a good comeback on Saturday but a massive game against Chesterfield this Tuesday
“Yeah, we’ve got a run of games against all the teams that you’d probably expect, or they expect to be up and around it come the end of the season so it’s a great test for the lads.
“But, as I said, we showed good character on Saturday so hopefully we can take the momentum which we finished the game in to tomorrow night.”
Q: Of course, the game was actually re-arranged initially because of the COVID issues they had and we wished them all the best and hopefully everything is recovered by this point
“We probably didn’t want the game this Tuesday because we’ve got such a tight schedule of games coming up but we also respect the fact that these games have got to be played and we’ve got to fit them in. After the game, it might be the best thing we did.
“It’s a weird season with COVID, as I said it’s a run of games where the congestion is quite big but looking out on the pitch now, it’s a lovely today, the pitch is starting to get back to what it used to be and obviously, the boys want to play football.”
Q: And just on that, what’s the latest with our COVID issues? Is everything ok? Is everyone recovered now?
“So, everybody is back now, barring one. As I said before, we’ve done everything we can to try and be as safe as we can but you just don’t know where you might pick it up from; a supermarket, a petrol station, wherever it might be, and we can’t control those.
“All I know is, what we are doing internally, is by the book so hopefully, touchwood, that’ll be the last of it and we can move on. It’s heading in the right direction.”
Q: Injury-wise, no new injuries? Any latest injury updates for anyone?
“No, obviously the long-term ones are the long-term ones. The boys that have been away, or not been available recently has all been COVID-related so there were no sort of injuries for those players to get over. As far as we’re concerned, everyone who is available is fine and fit.”
Q: When we went up there it was a 0-0 draw, a well-earned 0-0 draw given we went down to ten men so we’ll be expecting a tough game
“They’ve done a lot of recruitment; they’ve brought a lot of new players in and they’re in good form. Like I said, with all these teams, it’ll be tough but they’re in good form so they’ll come here expecting to win and we’ll be turning up tomorrow expecting to do the same.”
Q: We showed the game on Saturday, a late goal that got us something from a game, is that something you’ve worked on with the mentality?
“How can you work on scoring late to try and get points out of games? Because you’d rather get it done and dusted earlier on in the game so you can, never relax but, you can make it more comfortable for yourselves.
“What it has shown is that we’ve got the temperament in the squad and the resilience in the squad to keep going until someone tells us to stop. That sort of gave us the impetus on Saturday to get back in the game and obviously there were a couple of chances towards the end of the game where you thought we might have nicked it.
“It’s a positive, the negatives are that we should have never found ourselves in that position in the first place. Although we give them the plaudits for the recovery and the roll-your-sleeves-up mentality, we need to work on making sure that we’re not having to do those things. But that takes a bit of time and we’re getting there, but it’s a process unfortunately.”
Q: I think it’s tough for any team, to go 1-1 and then five or six minutes later it’s 3-1 to the other team so it’s a bit of a mental thing to think about
“And we’ve been studying goals in this league this season, it happens to a lot of teams, where they concede one and then it’s two or three goal that go in within that small period of time.
Unfortunately I think it’s the level and the focus, teams switch off, players switch off and if you look where the second goal comes from, it’s basically straight from the centre, from our equaliser.
It seemed like an eternity because the assistant referee was having an earpiece taped to his face, but actually in real-time, in the game, they went and went 2-1 up and then obviously the penalty is what it is. I still don’t think it’s a penalty, the more I see it now, I don’t think it’s a penalty because the ball is actually out of play before Ryan makes contact with the player.
All first half, they were pulling Noubz down in the penalty area, they were pulling H down in the penalty area, they were pulling Ricky down in the penalty area when the ball is out of play for throw-ins. The fourth official’s exact terminology was ‘it can’t be a foul if the ball is not in play,’ and there’s your consistency unfortunately.
People wonder why we’re as upset as we are with officials because there is no consistency with it. Look, the ref a couple of times have said ‘if I’ve made a mistake, I’ve made a mistake.’ I don’t think they do it on purpose but it does feel at the minute that every single thing is going against us and it’s hard because you look at the boys in the dressing room and think ‘I’m not really sure how to criticise you today, especially when things are taken out of your control.’ We live and learn and hopefully we might get a decision this year.”
Q: I think one more thing that’s been made, not more difficult, but a bit of a change this season is obviously having no fans here and especially when we brought it back to 3-3, we could have used the boost from the fans to maybe even make it 4-3
“I tweeted that its been great with what Scotty has done with the banners and everyone’s worked hard to try and make it look like there’s an atmosphere here but you can’t replicate what our supporters are capable of replicating.
“Even the small glimpse we got this season here against Dagenham, it made such a difference to the team. It can go against you sometimes, if you’re performing poorly and they’re unhappy with you it can put the pressure on but generally, the supporters here are always behind the team when you need that little bit of a kick.
“Even Hereford in the Trophy, there probably would have been 3 or 4000 here against Hereford and you can never guarantee what it’s supposed to be but when you get those goals, when you need that bit of momentum, when you need that favour, that twelfth man to almost suck the ball in the net for you, you do miss it on games.
“You do miss it. Like you said, when we get the third on Saturday, I think with the atmosphere that would have been here, we would have gone on and probably got a fourth goal but we’ll never know unfortunately.”
Q: Relating it back to Tuesday, obviously you probably would have watched Chesterfield’s last game, away win against Barnet, a 2-0 win for them so they’ll be going into the game full of confidence.
“Yeah, as I said, they’re in good form. They’ve got some very, very good players in the likes of (Akwasi) Asante and (Tom) Whelan who is playing behind the two forwards. They’ve brought Adi Yussuf in, the list goes on, they’ve invested. They’ve got a goal – they want to get promoted and we obviously need to make that as uncomfortable as we can for them.”
You can also sign up for the Shots TV Live streaming service which starts at 5:45pm on Saturday HERE.
Watch the full interview on our official YouTube channel HERE.