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MANAGER: The lads stuck together

7 April 2014

Graham Kavanagh on the Swindon win

Manager Graham Kavanagh gave us his reaction to the weekend victory over Swindon Town. 

“It’s a good win and another clean sheet so we come away feeling very, very pleased,” he said. “I think it was important for the group that we turned our good play into goals, and we got one in this one to give everyone a lift.
“The performance and energy levels were high and we’ve got a result our overall play deserved. We’ve obviously been doing something right defensively and the players have bought into the shape we have wanted to play. Dave Symington has been very, very good in the last two games and he is one who is probably playing above where I expected him to be. He’s been a huge plus.

“Another big positive for us was Gary Madine. He had to pull out of training on Thursday with a groin problem so we were worried about that, as a staff. He did very little on Friday but, as we walked off the pitch, he said ‘don’t worry about it, I’ll be fine and I’ll get you a goal.’ I think if he believes in himself then that’s half the battle won with him and he’s getting fitter all the time.
“He started flagging on about 75 minutes but you just know that he understands how to get between the centre halves and he knows the game. The goal meant a lot to him and I’m sure he’s dreamed of that moment for a while now. I have a very good relationship with Gary and I can tell you he is one of the few players who want to come and play for this club. He loves it here and I think his performances show that.”

“I thought we were the better team overall,” he added. “We created the better chances and we knew they would come strong over the last ten minutes or so. There were a few nerves and a bit of tension but we coped with it. Pascal [Chimbonda] made my heart skip a beat a couple of times, if I’m being honest, and we had a few words about that after the game. He is a very good player and a big influence around the group. He likes being on the ball, and he does take chances, but you can’t criticise him for that. He makes the right choices at least 85% of the time and I can live with the risks he takes because of what he adds to us a team overall.”

“We should have had a penalty, there’s no doubt about that,” he agreed. “But these things tend to go against you when you’re looking for that little bit of luck. The lads stuck together and eventually got the Saturday win that everyone has been telling me hasn’t happened for a while. 

“Everyone wanted to put that right and that showed with what James Berrett did right at the end of the game. I understand completely why he did that because they were going on the counter and he was taking one for the team. It is a blow that we’ll be without him but we should have enough in the group to cover that for next week.”

“It goes without saying that we have six huge games left now,” he told us. “It doesn’t matter where the teams left to play are in the table. It’s about our approach. They’ll all be tough games and everyone has something to play for. It’s up to us to be prepared tactically, technically and mentally, and the players have given us that in the last three or four games. I don’t think it’s a coincidence, with the likes of Paul Thirlwell and Sean O’Hanlon coming back, that we’ve performed better so we need to try and keep everyone fit and get as many points as we can over the next few weeks. When we apply ourselves in the manner we have recently we can be a match for any team. I’m not saying we’re always going to have the quality other teams have, but we do have a good tactical shape about us at the moment.

“What we haven’t done consistently enough this season is put the ball in the back of the net. It could be that we have somebody who can do that now and, if we stay strong at the back, we’ll be getting points on the board.”

“A bit of good news for us is that we have Danny Redmond with us until the end of the season,” he revealed. “They’ve given us the green light and he signed his paperwork before kick off. He’s a fantastic player and he has a bit of quality which can unlock defences at key moments. He knows he’s going to play a big part in the run-in and he’s more than happy to be here.

“We’ve got great spirit right through the group at the moment and we’re looking forward to the challenge ahead. We’ve been playing well and hopefully that will carry on for us.”

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