Graham Kavanagh ahead of the Walsall game
United manager Graham Kavanagh spoke to us ahead of the trip to Walsall at the weekend.
“There is a feeling of positivity around the club at the moment for a number of reasons,” he said. “The lads are upbeat and confident and the intensity in the work has been very good.
“We know where we want to get to in terms of points by the end of the month and we also want to jump into the top half of the table. We’re coming into a difficult run of games but they are games we are more than capable of winning. We’re all looking forward to it at the moment.”
“Saturday will be another good test,” he continued. “Walsall are a good side and Dean Smith has done a very good job. They have some excellent players and they are always organised, so that’s a good, strong base for them to work from.
“We got into the game in a good run of form and there is a belief in what we’re doing, which is always a good thing. When I first got the job everybody kept telling me about the three wins in a row issue, which we hadn’t managed to do for a number of years, and we got that out of the way. It would be nice to do it again because it would show where we are as a club and as a group.”
“Walsall have really cemented their place as a good League One team and Dean has done an unbelievable job in many ways,” he said. “They have similar resources to ourselves and he has transformed the club. They now look like a top half team and they play a really good brand of football.
“They have mixed flair with hard work and they have goal threats in a number of areas. We’ve done a lot of work to make sure the lads know what to expect and it’s up to us to go and impose our style of football on them if we can. As much as we played well and created chances last weekend there are still areas, even from that game, where we need to improve. It’s by focusing on these small details that we’ll start to get more consistency in our results.
“It was lovely for us to jump up the table last weekend but we do want to be in the top half as quickly as possible. If we manage to get there we can look at our targets again come January. We want to get our 52 points as quickly as we can and we’ll keep demanding more and more from the players until we achieve that.
“It’s very important for us that we stay grounded because the Christmas period is a key part of the season. You can move up the table quickly but you can also drop back down at the same rate. We’ve started things off well last week and optimism is high because of that.”
“We do have one or two injury concerns,” he admitted. “Danny Livesey pulled up with a calf problem on Wednesday and we think he will need a scan.
“Mark Gillespie had an operation on his knee on Tuesday night, and we’re still waiting for an update from that. Pascal Chimbonda has a slight calf problem and he’s another where we are waiting for the results of his scan. The nucleus of the group still looks strong, though, and we are generally quite fit. I’m sure everyone is chomping at the bit to play their part.”
“We’re going there on Saturday to try to win, there is no doubt about that,” he concluded. “You do that by starting the game properly and by keeping the tempo up all the way through. We’ve got players here now who have been doing that and we’ll be looking for it to continue.”
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