Manager ahead of the weekend visit of Preston
United manager Greg Abbott spoke to us ahead of the visit of Preston at the weekend.
“It’s looking like there’s going to be a big crowd here on Saturday so we would love to put on a performance for that reason alone,” he said.
“We want to finish the season on a high and we have been nothing short of outstanding these last few weeks. To get the results we’ve had from some very tough places has been testament to the lads and it’s given us an opportunity to enjoy the rest of the games we have left to play.”
“There will be no question of us just going out there to go through the motions,” he added. “The lads are really up for it and they want to win. We expect a good performance and some good determination again.
“I think Preston will be a very strong side next season. They’ve had a season where they have had to push all of their problems to one side to make sure they achieve safety before anything else. They’ve done that now and Simon [Grayson] is an experienced man at this level. They’ll be powerful next year but I think he will want to come and enjoy the game tomorrow and take another look at what he has at his disposal.
“The key for both of us between now and the end of the season is to make sure we plan as much as we can so that we are in a good position to go again next time round.”
“Hopefully it will be another enjoyable game,” he continued. “The fear factor has been taken away but there are now a lot of people playing for contracts.
“There is also a lot of passion around the game, because it’s a local derby, and it’s one we want to get right for the fans. We definitely go into it in a confident mood off the back of the very good run we’ve been on.
“We look at what we’re doing now and it fills us with optimism going forward. It shows that we have the nucleus to make sure we are hunting around at the top end of the division rather than the bottom. If we get a little bit of luck and if the key things go right for us, and then if we add to what we have in terms of evolving the squad, then it looks really bright for us.”
“I think we made a plea to the fans for them to understand the situation we have been in,” he explained. “The results and performances at the start of the season weren’t good enough but there were reasons for that.
“Along with that there were changes to the business side of things going on, and we had lower attendances, and that does affect the football side of things. What I can say is that every spare bit of cash is made available for me and I can’t ask for any more than that.
“But, if the funds aren’t available, then we can’t go out and replace injured players or those who may have lost a bit of form. We have to work hard to overcome those situations and I think, by and large, we have done that. I think we might come out of the season with a little bit of credit when people do look at what we’ve been through as a club through what has been a very tough time.”
“We’re in the process right now of putting together a complete structure for next season,” he said. “We will know, almost from day one, when we will be training and what we will be doing for every day of the season. That’s how thorough we want things to be.
“We have to exhaust every resource we have, if we want to be successful, and if we do that in plenty of time then it will give us a much better chance to achieve it. Part of that is to look at the squad we will have available and to how we want to add to that, but it all takes time to come to fruition.
“We probably won’t make any decisions with player contracts until the end of the season. We are talking to Sean O’Hanlon at the moment, because his situation is slightly different and he is out of contract on 11 May, but we can wait to do the rest until the last ball has been kicked.
“That’s the right time to address that side of things in my opinion. What I will say to the fans is that we will work as hard as we can to get the squad right so that we can have a really good go at it. We do need some new blood and some fresh ideas, and we’ll work very hard to bring some more quality players in.”
“We have the points on the table now and I will admit there is a temptation to look at some other options for the remaining games,” he told us. “However, we have to be careful because I don’t think the fans would be too pleased if we suffered a defeat and I tried to explain it away as me trying something new, or because I was experimenting with selection.
“There could be opportunities for other players to come in and show us what they can do and, if that happens, hopefully it will be a positive outcome. We’ve done really well with our 4-3-3 formation but, again, that could be something we think about.
“Whatever we go with, the players will be up for it because it’s a game they know the fans take really seriously. We keep saying we want to give something back for the way they have stuck by us and this would be a good one to win for them. We’ll certainly go out there to do that.”
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