“I think both sets of fans will have left the ground feeling like they needed to catch their breath,” he said. “The game had absolutely everything. There wasn’t much in it for long periods and then one side or the other would gain the upper hand for a while.
“Credit to Yeovil because this is side which is picking itself up and they are playing some really good football. They are getting confidence from their recent results and they aren’t going to roll over for anybody. It’s been nip and tuck through both games, and through extra time, and we’re obviously delighted to have come through.”
“As I say, it was pretty much an FA Cup tie which had everything,” he continued. “It was cold, there were bookings and red cards, goals, missed penalties and travelling fans who needed us to keep them warm. I thought Yeovil played very well whereas our forward play wasn’t where we needed it to be.
“We take that on board but we also accept that the lads showed a lot character. The fluidity wasn’t there in their play but they didn’t hide away. It was a game which needed character and our players gave us that. We were a bit hesitant and rushed at times but we still looked quite solid and combative.”
“When it got to extra time I told the players I would much rather be out there and playing than stood in the technical area,” he commented. “They can affect the game more than I can and I told them to make sure they enjoyed the challenge. They’d had to scrap in tough conditions and come back from a goal down against a side who were determined to defend their goal. It may not have been pretty but they’ve done what they had to do for us.”
Speaking about the dramatic penalty shoot-out, he said: “We scored all five and that shows a heck of a lot of bottle. We were in front of their fans but, again, it’s a challenge to be enjoyed. I always ask the players who wants to be involved and those who step forward are the ones who get the nod.
“You could say it’s pressure but it’s about doing a job. Pressure is what you put in tyres as far as I’m concerned. Mark Ellis was adamant he wanted to go last and that’s down ton the players. He showed another reason why we brought him to the club because he had a steady approach to his kick. He handled the situation well and I’m delighted for everybody that we got through.”
“It’s fantastic for us that we will now play Everton,” he agreed. “We took nearly 6,000 people to Liverpool and we took them to penalties on their own turf. We made a lot of friends and we’re looking forward to doing the same when we host the blue half of Merseyside at Brunton Park. I know our fans will be noisy and I hope the players step up and give them the performance they deserve.
“Before that we have our game against York and it’s superb that we’ll be at Brunton Park for it. There are people behind the scenes who don’t get or want mentions, or pats on the back, because they just get on with their jobs.
“The workload they’ve all taken on board, without question or long faces, is phenomenal. There’s now an opportunity for them to enjoy the limelight they don’t get or crave. The things they’ve done to make sure the club is back and functioning as soon as possible. There’s a huge thank you and a lot of appreciation from myself as head of football to them all for that.”
“I also have to say a massive thank you to the football club for backing me in the way I wanted to prepare. We stayed down here after the Barnet game and there is a lot of expense involved in that.
“I think the thinking in the past was to run the club on cost and savings. That’s very important, but value has been added to that train of thought. Where we can show value in something we want to do we get the backing, and that’s a huge stride forward.
“Hand-in-hand with that has been the job of making sure the players have kept their focus. They’ve been able to do just that because of the hard work done behind the scenes. That will continue and the excitement we have now is the fact we will play York City on Saturday. That’s our next job to do and we’ll do it as professionally as we possibly can.”