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INTERVIEW: We can't let it happen again

12 February 2015

Dan Hanford on the Shrewsbury Town game

Keeper Dan Hanford returned to the starting line up at short notice on Tuesday evening for the visit of Shrewsbury Town and we caught up with him to get his reaction to what was an amazing game.

“I’m absolutely gutted with how it turned out,” he said. “To come up against a team at the top of the league, and play as well as we did, we thoroughly deserved the three points. 

“I wouldn’t have been happy with coming off with just one point, to be honest. We’ve showed them how good we’ve become in the last couple of games, so to lose the way we have, with a lack of concentration, leaves a sour taste.”

“I think everyone who watched the game will go away feeling angry and annoyed,” he added. “We’ve proved how good we are and we were the better side. They had chances, but that will happen in every game, and we coped with just about everything they had. We were the more positive side so it’s hard for us to lose in the way we did.”

“The fans were behind me all the way and that’s been good, especially after the bad press we had over Christmas,” he said. “That was great for me. It was even nicer for them to back me after the first kick went wrong. It could have gone downhill from there. 

“Thankfully for me, they stayed with me, and I’d like to thank them for that. I don’t think you can put in words how much it means inside to get that kind of support. I might not be smiling on the pitch but it does give you a lot more confidence. 

“I knew I was going into the game with a few people not very happy with me and I just wanted to prove I’m sorry for what I did. A mistake is a mistake, and I just want to carry on playing football. I had a good long chat with the gaffer and my family and I know I messed up. Thankfully a second chance has come along when I needed it most.”

“I made a couple of decent saves and that also make you feel better,” he agreed. “That was something I needed. Unfortunately it means nothing now because of the result. Hopefully I’ll keep my shirt and we’ll get three points in a hard game against Luton.

“I don’t think I can repeat what gets said in the dressing room after a game like that. We’re the same as everyone else. We were annoyed, probably more than anyone else, because of the way we’d played. We know we deserved better. Losing two goals in thirty seconds isn’t good for anyone.” 

“There aren’t really any bones to pick over now because we all know what’s happened,” he said. “We can look at things, and say we should have done this and we shouldn’t have done that, but they didn’t really cause us any problems. The mistakes we made come down to concentration and that’s something I know we’ll work on in training.”

And on the lateness of his call up, he said: “It’s important to prepare properly for every game because you never know what could happen as a keeper. Even when I was dropped I made sure I prepared in the right way. When you get the nod all you do is smile and get on with it because it’s where you want to be. I’m not here to sit on the bench. 

“I get on really well with Mark [Gillespie] and he wished me all the best. Tony Caig pulled me to one side and he told me to just relax, calm down and enjoy it. We’ve been working on parts of my game we feel we can improve on, since I’ve been out of the team, and I think that showed. I did have a few bad kicks but, overall, I felt like I’d improved.” 

“We’ll quickly put this behind us as a team,” he concluded. “There are a lot of positives to take out of this and we’ll push each other and forget about it. But always in the back of our minds will be that we can’t let it happen again. 

“We’ll stick together because it feels like a club going places and there’s more hunger from us all to want to play. Everyone is training hard and doing extras, but it’s still that mentality of friends. We’re a close group and we’re going places on and off the pitch.” 

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