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INTERVIEW: Starting to see it come together

23 December 2014

Assistant manager Colin West on the Northampton game

Assistant manager Colin West gave us his thoughts on the weekend victory as he discussed the gradual addition of a bit of steel to the dressing room.

“We’re extremely happy with the performance on Saturday because we got over the line with a good victory,” he said. “The most pleasing thing was how we started the game but I think the lads showed excellent character after losing that goal right at the death in the first half.

“That can knock teams back when it happens, especially if they’re down in the bottom part of the league, but they responded really well and we were over the moon with how they played.”

“I think David [Amoo] was a bit upset with the penalty because of what had happened the week before at Exeter,” he added. “In fairness to the players, they knew they had to help him to focus and they were instrumental in getting him back into the right frame of mind.

“That was a massive thing. David was distraught because he felt he’d let the side down. He did have a few stiff words to deal with but you’d expect that. They all got behind him fully and he went out there and did extremely well for us. I think he knew he owed it to the players, supporters and himself to go out there and perform and he gave us that.”

“The fans responded to the way we started the game and I think that lifted the lads even more,” he told us. “They gave Connor Hammell a huge cheer and that’s massive for a young lad. It was a good afternoon for everyone. 

“It was quite funny when we decided to get Connor on because the manager was shouting at him while he was warming up. He must have shouted at him five or six times. Connor finally realised he was talking to him and he trotted back up the sideline. Keith said, ‘your name is Connor Hammell isn’t it – would you mind going on for us?’ That was a nice moment for him and the lad did very well. He showed tenacity in the tackle on the edge of our box and he got forward with the ball. He’s got a lot of talent.

“My debut was against Tottenham at home and I just knew it was a great opportunity. It was a big crowd and a great atmosphere and I just remember I wanted more of it. He’ll feel the same way about it all.”

On the man of the match performance from Dan Hanford, he said: “He was excellent. Their manager even talked about him after the game because he made some great saves. I know he was pleased with his performance, as we were. 

“Maybe it’s a good thing that Mark [Gillespie] isn’t too far away because it will add a little bit of pressure. If he keeps giving us that kind of performance Mark will have a hard job of getting back in the side. Competition for places is healthy in any position and it’s no different with them.”

And on the need for the players to adopt a more aggressive approach once they cross the white line, he said: “I think it’s the way things are these days. Sometimes that’s nice, because they’re not aggressive round the place, but you’ve got to try and turn into a different animal when you go out on the pitch. 

“Mark Hughes is from my time and I thought he was one of the best at it. He’s such a nice person off the field, but once he got over the white line he turned into an angry man. That’s the way we would like our players to try to be. 

“They have to remember the opposition are trying to take money out of their pockets in a way. That’s why they have to change how they are when they go from the dressing room and out onto the field. 

“We’re starting to see it come together. They’re starting to communicate more and we can see they’re more focused on what they need to do when they go out. I can usually see people’s attitudes in the warm up and it was very good on Saturday. You could sense they were in the right frame of mind from the warm up to the final whistle. It’s the kind of thing we want to see more of.”

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