After Tuesday’s professional away victory against Notts County, Danny Searle’s men will look to continue that performance against a Stockport County side currently occupying a play-off position.
Here’s what the gaffer had to say in full:
Q: Danny, a good win on Tuesday but an important game against Stockport County this Friday.
“Yeah, another tough opposition, obviously a team that’s in pole position to at least get in the play-offs this season so it’ll be a tough test for the lads but you know what, we showed some real quality on Tuesday and obviously from a performance perspective it’s making sure we emulate that again tomorrow.”
Q: Of course, Friday is our virtual home tour of duty so more than ever we encourage people, in particular home fans to sign up for the stream.
“It’s been quite disappointing for me because I’ve not had a chance to witness one yet. Last season, due to obviously COVID it never happened, and it would have been great to have seen it this season so obviously it’s about making the best out of a bad situation, so anyone who can get involved in it, please do because it supports what we’re trying to do off the field as well as on it. I’m looking forward to it and hopefully the number represent that.”
Q: We’ll talk about off the field as well, in your post-match tweet regarding Tuesday’s win you spoke about Bob and unfortunately Ian as well who’s also fallen ill, and we wish them our best wishes as well.
“Yeah, I hate to say it because it’s always a cliché and puts things into perspective but two massive parts of our football club. Bob Green is my go-to guy for everything and he’s been brilliant, you would never know, he puts a brave face on and he works so hard. I know what he’s going through at the minute with the sense of losing someone so close to you, it’s not great and everyone at the club wants to dedicate everything we do to him and especially as well Ian.
They’re an integral part of our fabric and not having Ian there on Tuesday taking the photos and we always have our regular high five before the game, you’re looking around for him and you just forget. All our thoughts and prayers are with both for slightly different reasons, we just wish them well and hopefully Ian’s situation improves very quickly.”
Q: Exactly that and looking back at Tuesday’s game, the rotation and competition in place has shown that these players can come in when players aren’t performing and get a result.
“I think there’s two sides to it, one which is definitely that, you’ve got to be performing to stay in the team and we want that competition, we want that competitiveness within the squad, but also, as I alluded to in that pre-match for Tuesday’s game, we need to have an eye on next year.
“It’s weird to be in a situation with 15 games to go that you can actually do that. We want players that want to be here, we want players that are committed to the club, also we want to have a look at players that might not have had as much opportunity as others, are they people that can play at this level for a regular basis so they’re will be quite a lot of rotation between now and the end of the season.
“Hopefully without losing that competitive edge, as you said we rotated the squad on Tuesday against Notts County and secure what is a great double over them this year without conceding a goal. That’s a great accomplishment for this group of players.”
Q: That’s true and just to confirm the plans for next season are still on-going and we are still looking into next season with the players?
“Yeah, we’ve got to, if it was a normal season with that amount of games left, you wouldn’t really be thinking about next season too much but the way the league is at the moment, not really knowing what other clubs are doing, we have to have one eye on it, we’d be naive not to.
“It’s just making sure we get the balance right of still being competitive in every game we play because that’s what we want but also, with an eye next season and start to really nail down some key principles that we can take into next year. As I’ve said, it’s almost like having an extra 15 game pre-season but we still want to win as many games as we can.”
Q: And of course it also gives us the chance to try and drip feed in some young players who have already showed they can come in and put in a good performance.
“Yeah we want to have a look at a few and we know what they’re capable of. The way they made their debuts is probably not how we wanted it to be, we wanted to do it with a loan first, get that experience of being in a dressing room where, not disrespect to under 23s football, you’re talking about people’s livelihood. Winning a game on a Saturday affects people’s livelihoods and that’s not matter what level you’re in.
“I think that’s the biggest issue that most clubs have with their 23s, giving those players that experience. In a 23s game, if you misplace a pass but it was the right idea, people say well done that’s the right idea but if you misplace a pass in a first team game and they go on and score, people are going to be coming for you in the dressing room.
“The only way you can learn that is to be in it, you can’t coach that, we can’t pull them in the office and say right I’m going to have a go at you now because you gave a pass away, you can’t coach that. That is, being in the environment and learning those life skills so as much as we can we want to try and get them involved but we’ve got a duty of care to the players we’ve signed to make sure that we give them every opportunity to secure something for next season.
“Again, we talk about balancing, we’ve got to make sure we balance that as well.”
Q: Looking back at Stockport, in our last game against them, a 0-0 draw away at their place, obviously it’s a tough place to go for any team, a last minute save from Mitch at the penalty as well shows that we can put in a good performance.
“It was a good point at Stockport, I wasn’t necessarily overly impressed with the performance especially with the ball. I thought we showed great resilience, we showed great determination to get something out of the game but there were times in the game where we had an opportunity to play, and we didn’t.
“I’d like to think that if we can take that resilience and that determination that we had to keep a clean sheet and add some of the quality we had on Tuesday night, hopefully we can give them a far better game than we did last time.”
Q: And for them a bit of a longer break than we’ve had in terms of the last game, as 1-1 draw at home against Hartlepool for them.
“Again, I spoke about it on Tuesday, our fixtures, we play tomorrow, we play Monday, we then go Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday for four consecutive weeks, it’s like when are we going to get a break?
“Look, players want to play, we’re trying to play with real high intensity and to be able to sustain it you want to be given some time, which we haven’t got at the minute so it’s a great test of character for everyone involved.”
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