Graham Kavanagh on the Coventry victory
Manager Graham Kavanagh spoke to us following the away victory against Coventry on Tuesday evening.
"I'm extremely proud," he said. "I thought we were excellent tactically against a team who plays a 4-2-2-2. We wanted the overload in the midfield and I felt we coped with everything they threw at us.
"We gave away a sloppy goal, which I was disappointed about, but on the whole the performance, the energy, the work rate and the quality was excellent.
"I had a bit of a go at the players at half time. Not because I didn't think they were good enough but because I felt that they were showing Coventry too much respect. We know they are a good side but I thought we were giving them too much time and space and allowing them to get balls into our box.
"I asked them to step up ten yards in the second half and keep the game simple in terms of possession of the ball. I knew if we could do that we'd get our full backs on the ball and create chances. Danny Redmond is a very clever player who finds good pockets of space, and Lee Miller's work rate along with Michael Drennan's movement up top caused them problems."
"It was a very organised and rigid defensive display," he continued. "People were filling holes and covering behind the ball when they needed to. If somebody was out of position there always seemed to be somebody else there to help them out.
"I had a word with Nobsa [Liam Noble] and Pottsy [Brad Potts] at half time because they were playing on the wrong side. I wanted Brad to play on the right because I felt, with his legs, he'd be able to get on the overlap when Pascal [Chimbonda] was on the ball. We did that in the second half and it's just an all round good performance.
"I thought Courtney [Meppen-Walter] was a little bit at fault for their goal. You couldn't isolate him and say it was completely his fault but he sliced his clearance a little bit. If you get good contact on that then they don't score. We all keep saying that he's learning on the job and it's a great credit to him that he doesn't hide away. He takes responsibility when he makes a mistake but I thought he was outstanding tonight and I'm really pleased for him."
"I left David Amoo out tonight which probably caused one or two people to take note," he said. "He has been our star performer this season but I feel he's looked a bit tired in the last few games. I don't think he's played this much football before this season so I wanted to give him a bit of a break.
"We knew we'd lose his pace and his ability to stretch the game in the wide areas, but it was good that we could get him on towards the end of the game to give them something else to think about."
"It was pleasing to win away from home because when you lose the first goal it can be difficult," he told us. "That says a great deal about the character of the lads. Sam [Byrne] got a dead leg towards the end of the game and Nobsa got a kick, which is why he had to come off. You're always going to get a few niggles on a heavy pitch but I think all credit has to go to the groundsman here because I think that's the 40th game that's been played this season, plus four friendlies and seven training sessions.
"It was good to see Chants [Chris Chantler] back on the pitch because he's had a difficult time with his injuries. I was actually going to take Lee Miller off because I thought he was tiring. I felt Nacho [Novo] could have ran the channels a little bit better but we'd used two of the three subs when Nobsa got injured and we had to change that. He knows the position that we asked him to play, on the left of a three in midfield, and there were a few times when Matt Robson went forward and Chants filled in for him."
"It was a big blow to lose James Berrett and Paul Thirlwell," he admitted. "We trained on the back pitch yesterday and it is quite heavy. Thir has had problems with his calves and his achillies so it looks like he'll be out for a couple of weeks. Bez has been outstanding over the last couple of months but he's pulled his hamstring so we are down to the bare bones.
"We are looking to bring one more in and if that does come off I think that will be it in terms of players this season. I think everybody knows the area we need to strengthen. We've only got Sean [O'Hanlon] and Courtney [Meppen-Walter] at the moment. Thir filled in very well the other night but we've obviously lost him now as well. If we were to get one or two more injuries we'd be really struggling.
"A couple of clubs are after the player we're interested in but we've had some conversations and we think we're in with a chance. We'll make a few calls and take it from there."
On the Sam Byrne goal, he said: "I'm absolutely over the moon for him. He's trained so well over the time he's been with us. He's probably the main one in the squad who has something different and it was a great finish for his goal tonight. He's prepared to do a lot of work to create space and get shots away and he's going to be a real threat."
And on the Michael Drennan loan situation, he told us: “I’ll have to have a chat with the chairman and directors to see what I can do with him. Finances will decide whether or not we can bring him back. He's been fantastic and with a bit of luck he could easily have had a couple of great goals to his name. We'll just have to see where that one goes."