Captain Danny Grainger on the play-off push
Club captain Danny Grainger spoke to us about his return to action ahead of the long trip to Exeter this weekend.
“It’s nice to be back in the team,” he said. “It’s frustrating to have to sit games out and I’m not the best of people to be sat on the guidelines watching, I can tell you that.
“I do get frustrated when I can’t get out and help the lads so it’s nice to be involved again.”
Speaking about the Dagenham game on Tuesday night, he said: “I was disappointed we didn’t get the three points but we move on and it’s now a big game for us on Saturday.
“I got another good 75 minutes under my belt and that was important for me mentally. Last Saturday was easier physically because adrenalin gets you through games like that. It was followed by a long trip down to Dagenham and I was starting to feel the affects of having had a long time out during that game.
“I’d like to have lasted a little bit longer out on the pitch but I think the gaffer saw that I was tiring and it was the right decision to take me off. Hopefully it puts me in a position to get another 90 minutes under my belt on Saturday.”
“The frustration came for us on Tuesday night because we felt we had enough chances to win five or six games comfortably,” he revealed. “We all had a chat after the game and one of the things I said was that if we’d kept a clean sheet against Northampton we’d have won that one. If we’d scored just one goal on Tuesday, we’d have won that one.
“We can’t lay the blame at anyone’s door. It isn’t the fact that the defenders didn’t do their jobs at the weekend or that the strikers didn’t do it on Tuesday. Collectively, as a squad, we didn’t do our job in either game to get the results we needed.”
His appearance on Tuesday night, of course, involved a switch back to the left wing role which had brought the team so much joy in the game against Notts County at Deepdale in December.
“I enjoy the left wing berth,” he confirmed. “The manager has used me there a few times this season and I’m starting to really enjoy it.
“I’m growing in confidence with it in every game and I feel as if I can help the team out a lot down that side. I love it out there and if the manager feels that’s where he wants to play me then I’m more than happy to do it.”
And on the position in the table the team currently holds, he said: “If we’d been handed this situation at the start of the season – two points off the play-offs with twelve games to go – I think we’d have taken it.
“Hindsight is great and we should be in the play-off positions now, with the points we’ve missed out on, but we’re still close and we’re getting to the business end.
“We haven’t really hit the form we had before the floods happened yet but I’m more than confident that the lads can see it through and get us in there.
“There’s a definite sense of let’s get back at it after the last couple of results. On another day we could have beaten Northampton because we had the chances. We just didn’t defend well enough as a squad.
“We should also have won on Tuesday night without a doubt. We need to start turning these ‘should haves’ and ‘could haves’ into ‘we did do it’ and that could come with a bit of luck in a game where we perhaps didn’t deserve to win.
“As I say, I’m more than confident we can secure a play-off place. We’ll be a force to be reckoned with if we can get in there. I’ve said all season that we will end up where we deserve to end up, but I’ll be very disappointed if we don’t secure a play-off spot and promotion.”
Looking ahead to the Exeter game, he said: “It’s a long trip but it’s time the lads get to spend with each other. We’ve spent so much time on the road this season that it’s just another thing you take in your stride and get on with.
“The manager and the club really look after us and they do the best for us when we get down there. We get looked after really well and there’s always plenty of time for us to prepare.
“The length of the journeys has never been used as an excuse and it never will be. We’ve travelled well this season in my eyes and we’ve picked up good points on the road. We’re going to need that form going into the run-in because we still have the likes of Exeter, Portsmouth and Yeovil to come. As I say, we’ll get on with it and see where it takes us.”