Graham Kavanagh on the Bristol City game
United manager Graham Kavanagh spoke to us today ahead of the visit of Bristol City at the weekend.
"This will be a very tough game because they've got players at the top end of the pitch who can hurt you,” he said. “I would be surprised if they weren't in the top half of the table come the end of the season because they are a very good side.”
"I do think Sean O'Driscoll is a very good manager and he's done very well at the clubs he's been at in the past,” he continued. “We go into this feeling confident but if we step off the gas we'll come unstuck. It’s vital that we go into the game in the same mindset as we had on Tuesday night.
"This is one where we know we'll need to play very well to get the three points. We've talked about momentum and that was why I thought Tuesday was so important. It got rid of the disappointment of Saturday very quickly and it has put us in a position to kick on again.”
“I genuinely do think that Bristol City are just one win away from going on a run but I’m sure Sean will understand when I say that I hope that comes for him after this weekend,” he said. “We know what to expect and we know they’ll be determined to put things right. It’s up to use to show the energy, determination and intelligence which will allow us to play our game.”
“It will be good to have a home game again because it feels like a long time since we've played in front of our fans,” he admitted. “It will be good to get the chance to show them how much we've improved over the last few weeks.
"The fans that have been coming have been brilliant because they've had six to eight months of mediocrity, where we haven't performed as a football club, for whatever reason. We’ve built some momentum now and when the fans really get behind us it is a massive boost for the players.
“Nobody likes the long trip up here so we want to make Brunton Park as tough to play at for away teams as we can. We're confident we can show the fans what we're all about and if they get behind us it can give us that extra 3-4% we need.
"In all honesty, the fans have been first class. There was something like 800 of them at Morecambe, which was amazing, and it just shows that they all want to be a part of what we're trying to do.
“I know we had a lot of people who wanted to wait and see if we were the right men to take over and I think, in the short time we've been in charge, we've shown that we are. We'll continue to try to do that going forward and hopefully more and more people will be coming through the gates. When I first came here we were getting crowds close to 8,000 and it would be brilliant if we could get anywhere near that again.”
On the team selection side of things, he said: "I asked Lee [Miller] if he was ready to play ahead of the MK Dons game and he told me he was. I think he was a little bit frustrated to be on the bench on Tuesday night but I didn't want to risk him too much. It’s important that we don't bring him back too early because we need him to be a platform for the team to build on. He's had another full week of training now and I know he'll be chomping at the bit to play on Saturday.”
"Chris Chantler is closer in the sense that he has also had another week of training without any reaction to the injury,” he continued. “We're going to play a bounce game against Bolton on Tuesday and that will give him a full 90 minutes. If he comes through that unscathed that should be him fully ready to be involved in the group. He's had a difficult period but he's used it in the right way and he is in fantastic condition. That can only be good for him going forward.”
"Leon [McSweeney] had a scan on Thursday afternoon and, as it stands, we are still waiting for the results from that,” he explained. “We're hoping for good news from that and it could be one we have to assess ahead of the game at Saturday lunchtime.”
“Other than that it is all systems go,” he concluded. “It’s another game we want to win and hopefully that’s exactly what we’ll do here in front of our own fans.”
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