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MANAGER: Getting the job done

1 August 2014

Graham Kavanagh ahead of the Friday friendly

We spoke to manager Graham Kavanagh ahead of the final pre-season friendly against St Mirren this evening.

"In terms of the group and their performance I was very pleased on Tuesday night," he said. "I've said that I would be happy with the group we have if we started the season now but we have picked up one or two little knocks so I feel we need two or three players as cover.

"Every aspect of our play at Dumbarton was outstanding. We created a lot of chances and it's just that final touch that needs improving. I think it's important when we don't play as well that we take those chances and grind out results. 

"I'm really pleased with the shape of the group and the energy levels and I think the players are really buying into what we're asking them to do. I think we're in a good place and I'm feeling pretty relaxed and confident with the group we have at the moment." 

"We haven't completely decided which shape we're going to use against Luton so for us to be able to play well in both shapes is very pleasing," he continued. "We've got two shapes we know work with different personnel so we'll keep looking at both before we decide which we're going to use. 

"I was really pleased that there wasn't a break up in the understanding or a lack of control after we'd changed to the second shape on Tuesday night. Both halves were equally as good as each other. 

"Players were picking very good areas to play in and, for the second goal, I think we passed the ball 22 times without any player having more than two touches. That's exactly what we're trying to achieve. If we're going to pass the ball we need to pass it with a purpose. We've told the lads there has to be a means to an end and we want them to pass it to create space for themselves. We're starting to see them adapt to that."

"There were times last season where we were looking at which players we could get out onto the pitch but, at the moment, there are going to be a few disappointed players once I pick the starting 11 for the Luton game," he told us. "They'll all have reasons why they think they should be in the team but that's the nature of football. It's difficult, but it's all based on what I see in training and how I think the other team are going to play. Ultimately, I'm very pleased with the group and whoever steps out onto the pitch against Luton has my full trust."

"I'm feeling quite relaxed as the season draws closer but it's very easy to say that now," he commented. "My character reflects good and bad on the players so if I look like I'm in control that should enable them to perform better. 

"I'm aware of that and I'm going to try and stay in that state of mind. As I say, it's easy to sit here and say that before the season has started but that's what I'm going to try and do.

"I think this season is about getting the job done, however that may be and whoever it is doing it. We need every single player to be ready to do a job and, if we do have that, then I believe we can win a lot of games with this group of players. 

"The reshuffle in the backroom staff was difficult but it has enabled us to keep the players guessing in terms of what we've had planned for them in pre-season. Losing Davie [Irons] wasn't nice but it was something I felt had to be done. 

"I definitely felt we needed to add a fitness coach. We interviewed 12 people and I don't think we could have chosen a better person than Lee [Fearn]. He's very forward thinking and he thinks outside the box. He's very creative in the way he does his work and I think the players love that they're working but enjoying themselves at the same time. 

"The physical side of things he's doing with the players is high and he creates competition between them which, again, they really enjoy. We've got a group of players who are coming back in the afternoon and doing core weights with him and all players have got their individual programmes. 

"The other encouraging thing is that I look at our players on the pitch and you can see a change in the size of our team. We look very strong and that's good, because I think League Two will ask that of us this season."

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