The manager on Sunderland and the importance of the fans
Manager Graham Kavanagh took a look back at the Sunderland game with us following the first training session of the week as he reflected on what had been a good day for the club.
“Looking back at Sunday I’d have to say it was a day that made me feel extremely proud,” he said. “It was a fantastic turn out and great to see the number of people who filled our area of the stand.
“They got right behind their team and the atmosphere they created was amazing. I’m disappointed we didn’t get a result for them but I thought the lads played particularly well.”
“We said after the game that we hope we’ve now done enough to bring a few of them back again,” he added. “The feedback we’re getting is that everybody enjoyed the day and we were hoping that would be the case.
“The support shows they want to get behind us and they do want to believe in their team. It’s important to us that they keep coming back if they want a successful football club for this city. Please God they show us that belief by coming through the gates and helping us to move on.”
“When I saw the team sheet I knew straight away that Gus Poyet had shown us complete respect," he commented. "One or two aside he played his best team. I think it must have been amazing for the lads to walk out and see that kind of support.
“When you’re playing in a stadium like that, against a team like that, you wonder if one or two of them will freeze and I don’t think any of them did. They were an absolute credit and on a different day we could have got more for the chances we created.
“From the fans, to the people working for the club on the day, to the team on the pitch, I thought we painted a very good picture of ourselves as a football club. It’s hugely important that we now try and build on what we did and, like I say, hopefully we will have somewhere near that level of support going forward.”
“The danger now, of course, is that we suffer a bit of a hangover from it all,” he admitted. “We gave the lads Monday off, to give them time to recover and reflect on it all, and they’ve come into work today [Tuesday] in very good spirits.
“It’s all about getting ready for Saturday now and we’ll look at who is fit and ready as we go through the rest of the week. I’m at Shrewsbury to watch Leyton Orient so that should give me a few pointers as to how they will react to their cup game at the weekend and we will go to London looking for a positive result.”
“We’ll be ready physically for Saturday, there’s no doubt about that, but we have to make sure we are ready mentally for what is a very important second half of the season,” he told us.
“Something else we’ve had to say over and over is that there has been many a time this season when we’ve felt the lads have been up for games but we haven’t had the outcome we expected. We’ll remind them on Thursday and Friday that their focus has to be on getting as many points as possible for us as quickly as we can.”
“There are injuries for us to deal with but you won’t find us crying too much about that,” he insisted. “Danny [Livesey] trained with us yesterday but he pulled up and we’ll need to get that assessed.
“Paul Thirlwell will be a few weeks yet with his calf problem. We aren’t sure about the timescale on that because we tend to take this type of thing day by day.
“Mike Edwards had a groin procedure last week and we’re expecting to get him back into training at the beginning of February. Mark Gillespie is progressing well but he is probably still five or six weeks away. Other than that we have one or two dead legs and kicks but nothing that is of a major concern.”