Graham Kavanagh ahead of the weekend
Manager Graham Kavanagh spoke to us ahead of the trip to Leyton Orient at the weekend.
“I think Orient are a very strong outfit,” he said. “Russell Slade has had time to nurture and build a group of players he will feel are his own and they’re playing some really good football.
“I think he’s done a fantastic job down there. It’s been a slow build but, over time, he has added real quality. He’s kept the nucleus of a small group and he’s added to it really well. They have a great look about them and it’s always a difficult place to go.
“It’s going to be one of the toughest tasks we’ve had this season but if we concentrate on our game we should come away with something to show for it.”
“They’ve come through a difficult period over Christmas and they’ll be looking to keep their push going,” he added. “They will create problems for the majority of teams in this division and there’ll be a level of expectancy there for them.
“We’ve got to be as tight as we can for as long as we can on Saturday and, if we do that, we’ll catch them at some stage during the game. With Lisbie and Mooney they have two huge goal threats so we can’t go there taking anything for granted.”
“They’ve enjoyed the runs of results that every team is looking for,” he agreed. “At some stage we would love to go eight or ten games where we are really consistent in the league. That’s the challenge I have set the players even though it hasn’t happened for us so far.
“That says a bit about the group and they know they have to find more ways to drag more out of themselves and each other. They’re working hard to get there and, even though it’s a slow process which requires a fair bit of patience, we think we’re already seeing some positive improvements.”
“I think I’m at the point where I don’t want to keep reflecting on our good performances against the likes of Brentford and Tranmere any more,” he told us. “All that’s doing is keeping us in the past.
“What you can do is reflect on why we played well and try to use that to help you go forward. We know what we’re capable of when we’re focused, and when we apply ourselves, so the efforts have to be on producing that more often than not.
“If we can continue to do what we did at Sunderland we should be more than capable of causing any team problems. We need to put the ball in the back of the net more and, if we address that, we should get more of a return when it comes to the points we’re after.”
On his approach to team selection, he said: “Everybody has to be ready. We’ll always pick the team we think will get us a result. The options are there for us with the group we have but it’s a case of getting the right blend and mix for each game that comes. That’s what we’ll keep trying to do.”
“We’ve managed to get a good run at home and we want to start seeing that in our away games as well,” he confirmed. “The work rate is there and if we can add the quality the likes of David [Amoo] and Tom [Lawrence] bring to the mix then hopefully our 2014 will be a lot brighter than 2013 was for us all.”