Tony Caig and Paul Thirlwell ahead of the Wimbledon game
First team coaches Paul Thirlwell and Tony Caig spoke to us ahead of the weekend visit of Wimbledon.
“I think the type of performance we put in on Tuesday has been there all season,” Thirlwell said. “We showed glimpses of it in the second half against Luton, and in the Derby game, so we told the lads to go out and play like we know they can.
“We told them to go out and relax and it was great to see them come back from going a goal down. Scoring so soon after they did was probably the best thing that happened on the night because we really pushed on from there.”
“The message for Saturday will be to go and do what they did on Tuesday night all over again,” he continued. “They've shown what they can do in one game so now they have to show us they can do it consistently. We were really pleased with how we played at Accrington because we were aggressive and we passed the ball well.
“We would love to beat Wimbledon with a fantastic performance but, with the position we're in, the three points are the most important thing. It's all about results and although we would like a strong performance we'll take a victory in any we can get it.”
“As far as everything else is concerned, we haven't thought about anything other than taking the team,” he told us. “I don't think now is the time to say whether we want the job or not because the important thing is to get the team prepared to win matches and pick up results.
“We came in on Monday thinking it was business as usual so it’s been a whirlwind since then. We were asked to take over team affairs on Monday and that’s what we'll continue to do.”
“It’s a case of take it on for now and see what happens,” Tony Caig agreed. “We'll take training with the players, prepare them for the games as best we can and pick the team until we're told otherwise.
“It’s been an extremely difficult period on a personal level because I built up a strong relationship with Kav over the years he's been here. It's never nice seeing anybody lose their job and I think the players showed they wanted to put a performance in for Kav on Tuesday night.
“There is definitely a determination within the group to go out there and start picking up results. The players were all very emotional once Kav had gone, especially some of those he’d brought to the club during the summer. I think they feel like they have something to prove, like we all do, because we were all part of this. Although Kav has carried the weight of it, we still have something to prove as a group.”
“It's difficult to say where or why things started going wrong,” he added. “I think, in terms of the playing staff, it’s taken them a bit of time to gel because there was such a big turnover of players.
“We all felt that was the right thing to do because we came down a division and wanted to bring experienced players in who knew the league. We've also had big players out injured, which didn't help. but we all felt the performances would come. I think Tuesday demonstrated that but it was only one game and we know we have to show it on a consistent basis.”
“The lads are all very upbeat at the moment and winning a game does that, especially for the young players,” he commented. “Confidence comes back very quickly, but it can also disappear just as fast, so we'll try and harness what we gained from Tuesday and use it going into Saturday's game.
“You hear people saying that when caretaker managers come in the shackles come off, and I think that just happens naturally. We've both been there when managers have changed and you do get that interim period when players go out and play their own game.
“I think that's what happened on Tuesday. It's still Kav's squad and they went out and proved they were good players. We just put the team on the pitch and told them to enjoy it.”
“We wanted to make Antony Sweeney captain because he knows the league very well,” he explained. “He's a player the young players can look up to because of the way he conducts himself in training and around the club.
“Josh Gillies played well on the night and he had a hand in the first goal. His all round play was good. He tired a little bit towards the end, which is to be expected, but we were impressed with him.
“Saturday will be another tough game, as they all are at this level. It will be physical and direct and we'll try and counteract that to make sure we get a result. We'll be asking for the same work ethic and for the players to pass the ball around when they have it. If we can do that we'll give ourselves a good chance.”
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