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INTERVIEW: Starting to look up the table

16 October 2014

Paul Thirlwell on positivity and expectation

Captain Paul Thirlwell spoke to us this week about confidence in the dressing room following the recent run of performances and results.

"It's been a positive start under the new manager and the lads are full of confidence," he said. "It's nice to get the three wins and it's made it even better that two of them have came at home. I think you always seem to get a bit of a reaction to a new man coming in but we've probably got a bigger one than we all expected.

"Everything has been positive and I think the pleasing thing is that the majority of people in the squad have had a chance to show him what they can do. I think you can see in the way we're playing that everybody is confident. You can feel on your game anyway but it takes a strong character to be confident when you're losing games every week. Now we're getting the results we wanted you can see it building within the squad, especially with the young lads."

"There's a great feeling around the place at the moment," he confirmed. "It's nice that fans are coming here and expecting us to win games again. We've got three wins now but we want to carry it on and make it 4, 5, 6 and 7.

"I don't think there have been huge changes since Keith [Curle] and Colin [West] came in. They've got us disciplined and organised, everybody knows their roles and everything has been simplified. The lads aren't going out there with five or six things to think about during the course of a game any more. We get specific instructions and we stick to them. Like the gaffer keeps saying, we stop the opposition then go and express ourselves, and that's what we've been able to do so far."

"I think everybody has stepped up because we all want to show the gaffer that we should be in his starting 11," he said. "That new young centre back we've got looks quite decent as well, even if I say so myself! 

"No, seriously, it is new for me in the sense of I've played the majority of my games in midfield, but I've dropped back in there and done that same job before. It's just nice to be playing at the moment and everybody wants to make it difficult for anyone else to take your shirt off you.

"Even when I have played in midfield I've always played the more defensive role, so it's something I'm used to. I've always tended to be further back than further forward, and I think centre back is a role where if you're organised it makes it easier to direct people in front of you.

"I wouldn't say it's an easier position to play as captain because there's an argument that you can get information to more people from the middle of the park. Captain is an important role to play but I think the more lads we can have on the pitch who are vocal, the better is for us all."

And on the run of league victories, he said: "The results at the weekend bunched everybody together even more and we're starting to look up the table. That's the way we want to continue to go and hopefully we can get as high up the league as we possibly can. 

"It's important for us to be out of the bottom two, nobody wants to be down there, and I think the longer you are there the harder it is to get out. We'll see where the hard work and performances take us from here. If we keep producing the football we have been then we will win a lot of games."

"Clean sheets start from work at the front and Mark [Beck] and Steven [Rigg] have done really well with that side of things," he commented. "It is nice to keep clean sheets as a team, and as a back five, and hopefully we can continue to do that. Everyone knows that if you're keeping the opposition out you're giving yourselves a great chance of taking all three points."

"Plymouth is a long way but I think we're all used to those types of journeys because of our location," he concluded. "We'll get down there and make sure we're prepared so we can try and keep this run going. They're a good side, they've had some decent results, but I don't think we have anything to fear." 

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