Graham Kavanagh on finding ways to improve
Manager Graham Kavanagh admitted this week that there has been a lot of soul searching going on as the club prepares for their last home game of the season on Saturday.
“I’ve reflected a lot on where we are over these last few weeks,” he revealed. “I think I’m coping with the situation well but there isn’t a second goes by in the day when I’m not thinking about it and constantly trying to find ways to improve it.
“I’ve done a lot of work on getting into the players psyche and mindset and that’s because every single one of them is different. A coping strategy or mechanism you use on one player doesn’t necessarily work on another. We’re doing everything we can but we have to understand that we do have a young and inexperienced group.
“I’ve analysed how I am around them and I don’t think I’ve altered too much. I’ve tried to look after the younger players, put an arm round them and make them feel like a million dollars, so I’m not too sure how much more we can do to help them through it.
“The other thing we’ve done is sit them all down and talk about how things will feel if we have failed in two weeks time. One or two of the players spoke up, which I was pleased about, and the staff all had their say. They’ve told us they’re going to give it their all and that’s all I can ask for.”
“We’ve talked about how important communication, body language, approach and self assurance are and hopefully that will all come together to give us some good performances. We need the players to give us a platform this weekend and then we can move on to the Crawley game from there. We’ve got to do all we can to make sure we keep other teams looking over their shoulders going into the last day.
“We’ve actually had a look at the situation as if it’s already the absolute negative to try to get them to play with freedom. If we play with panic and fear then it will upset the balance of the way we work and that, in turn, will affect the result.
“There are a lot of players who have never experienced this type of thing and a conversation I had with Brad Potts and Dave Symington last week was really interesting, from my point of view, because it let me see how much fear they had about being relegated. They have a huge amount of pride in the club and the consequence for them would be the feeling of having let people down. We’ve got to deal with all of that, be positive and do the things which will give us a chance of winning these games. If fear does creep in then hopefully it will play a part in a good way.”
“There are a number of reasons why we are where we are,” he told us. “When I looked at the squad in January I felt we had enough leaders and characters to take us through, but it was those players who started to pick up the injuries. That did affect us, but it is what it is.
“We’ve had to use a lot of loan players to cover for that and that’s because the budget was already mostly spent by the time I got the job. We haven’t been able to do much other than short term deals and loans. That’s the market we’ve had to work in and nobody is at fault for that. Attendances have been down and we’ve had to cut our cloth accordingly, as we all saw last summer. I knew I was coming into a difficult situation when I took over and if we get to the end of this season still in this league then I think that will be a huge success.
“I’ve not really had the chance to stamp my own mark on this club yet. I’ve done an awful lot of loans simply because I felt we needed to. Some have worked and some haven’t, but you’ll get that when you have to gamble in the market in this way.
“I think we’ve had more successes than failures but I know that if we’d had our key players available we wouldn’t be in this position. However, it is what it is and we have to see where the next three games take us. I wouldn’t like my first managerial job to have a relegation marked against it but, if it does, I’ll learn from it and come back determined to push this club forward and to be successful with it next season.”
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