Graham Kavanagh on the Tranmere game
Manager Graham Kavanagh gave us his reaction to the 0-0 draw with Tranmere at the weekend.
“This is one we started slowly and that was a bit of a concern for the first 15 or 20 minutes,” he said. “We moved things round a bit, we managed to get our full backs to compete higher and we started to get into better areas. It’s one where we had to work hard and it nearly paid off for us when we almost nicked it right at the end.
“Yet again we looked a decent side in the second half. Credit to the lads for that because everyone knows the situation we’re playing under at the moment. We asked them for a high tempo and they gave us that for most of the game.”
“Overall I thought it was a decent performance,” he continued. “It was a difficult pitch but we were the team who had that bit of extra quality, particularly in the second half. Having said that, we had situations where, with more composure and decision making, we could probably have made better of them.
“We have a striker up front [Gary Madine] who believes he’s going to score for us and we didn’t quite create the number of chances we had in recent weeks. He isn’t 100% fit yet but he wanted the ball and his effort and honesty were first class. With training and pitch time under his belt he will get better and better and I think he will be a big player for us over the coming weeks.”
“I told the lads I was pleased with what they had done at full time,” he commented. “They recovered from a poor start and they picked up what is an important point. There are a number of teams on 40 points now and there are seven games left for us to get the results we need. Teams will get points and drop points where you don’t expect them to over the next few weeks and it’s up to us to make sure we do what we need to do.
“We’ve started to keep clean sheets and, like I say, all we need now is to be more ruthless and clinical in front of goal. There are definitely positives for us to take into this week as we get ready to go again for another tough game.”
“The injury situation has had an impact but I’m hoping we will start to see one or two back,” he told us. “Courtney [Meppen-Walter] took a couple of bangs on his leg and we’re hoping he will recover quickly from that. Reece [Brown] came in and looked strong, so that was fantastic to see.
“Matt Robson has had another couple of injections at the back end of last week so we’re hoping that will improve things for him. David Amoo could be back and, if he is, that will give us options with how we want to do things. Pascal [Chimbonda] is telling everyone he will be ready to play so we have some better signs. With Paul Thirlwell and Sean O’Hanlon already back that gives us some senior heads in the group, which is really important with what we’re going through.”
“It’s about preparing the group again for the Swindon game on Saturday,” he said. “We have to make sure the lads go into the game in the right frame of mind with as little pressure as possible.
“The fans helped with that side of things today. I thought they were absolutely magnificent. They got right behind their team and they lifted the players just when it looked like Tranmere were going to get on top. The lads responded to it and we would love to see the same in our home games. I’ve told the players that if they keep playing with this level of energy and honesty then the fans will back them all the way. Hopefully it will continue for all of us.”