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INTERVIEW: Merry Christmas to you all

24 December 2012

The manager on Saturday and Pools

United manager Greg Abbott spoke to us about the call-off on Saturday and the game against Hartlepool on Boxing Day.

“We were disappointed that it was called off because the players had really worked hard last week,” he said.

“I know that’s something we keep saying, but when you have a group who are as together and determined as this then it makes the job easier.

“They are hurting as much as anyone about the way the results have gone because they don’t like to see us in this position. We’ve had year-on-year of steady improvement and our focus is on making sure that continues.”

“We were at the team hotel when we found out the game had been called off and there’s nothing you can do about that,” he explained. “All of the lads were together and the talk was all about how we were going to approach things once we got to the ground.

“It’s not ideal when a game gets called off but the referee gave it every chance he could. The rain was heavy for something like 12 hours and, as we saw, there was little chance of it improving at any time during the day on Saturday.

“All you can do is make sure the lads get it out of their system and starts to immediately concentrate on the next game, because that’s one we can affect. We all wanted to play but I’m sure that was the same for everyone at Scunthorpe as well. That’s gone now and we have to concentrate on what will be a very tough game against Hartlepool.”

“These two home games coming up are important for us, but every game is vital whenever it’s played,” he said. “At the moment we know our home form hasn’t been good enough and we want to change that. The fans have been magnificent for us and we desperately want to repay the way they have stuck by us. 

“Hartlepool will come here to battle and scrap because they need the points for their own reasons. John [Hughes] is working hard to turn their season round and they will be organised and they’ll try to make life very hard for us.

“The lads know they need to start the game the same way as they did at Shrewsbury and, with a performance like that, we’ll cause problems. 

“Having Lee Miller back is a huge bonus for us. We’ve said on a number of occasions that defending starts from the front, and we had a situation a week ago where our midfield players looked much more confident with the work they had to do because they knew the ball was going to stick in the forward areas. He’ll only get better and better as he gets more game time under his belt and, with other players returning to fitness, we know we have a squad that can go out there and get results.”

“This one on Boxing Day is one where we have to be right from the moment we get into the dressing room,” he added. “We now have a period of four games in eleven days and, if we do it properly, it can really help us to push on. That starts with Hartlepool, but they’ll be approaching it in exactly the same way. They are as unhappy with their position as we are with ours, and we’re both in a situation where a result could be the spark to give everyone the lift you sometimes need in this game. 

“All I do is prepare the team to win games. I can understand the outside concerns, but they are exactly that - outside concerns. My only concern is to prepare the team right and to win games. 

“When you have a run like this you do look at things you do and you obviously ask yourself if anything can be done better. At the moment I think we are doing everything we can to get the results. 

“If that’s the case then I have to be detached from anything else which might be said. I have a job to get the team to win as many games as possible, and I am not affected by what anybody else thinks about me, the team or the club. We are going through a little blip at the moment, but we will sort it out. 

“I believe that and I know the players feel the same. When we have that type of strength and unity we aren’t going to go too far wrong.”

“I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas,” he said. “Like I say the fans have been different class for us, home and away, and it’s something we always appreciate. It hasn’t always been easy and that makes the level of support you get even more important. 

“We’ve had some good times over the four years so far and we are absolutely determined to bring more smiles and improvement next year. Hopefully we can start with two positive results over the next few days.” 

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