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INTERVIEW: It was the right call in the end

Lee Dykes on yesterday's postponed game

13 December 2017

Assistant manager Lee Dykes admitted to being disappointed that yesterday’s Emirates FA Cup second round replay against Gillingham had been postponed but also explained that the focus would immediately switch to Saturday’s home game against Port Vale.

“A postponement definitely wasn’t what anyone wanted,” he agreed. “We’d geared up for the game, the preparations were as per usual, so it’s a little bit disappointing for everybody when it comes to the day of the game and it’s off.

“The FA Cup is a competition we all want to play and participate in, but I think it was the right call in the end. The safety of the players and fans has to come first, so now it’s a case of waiting to see when we’ll get this fixture played and we can all look forward to that.”

“I think we have to mention the ground staff because they’ll be more disappointed than anyone,” he added. “They don’t stop working, night and day, and they’ll have done everything they possibly could to get the game on.

“That’s standard with our ground staff and it’s what we’ve come to expect. They win awards for their football pitch year-on-year and that doesn’t come by accident. We were all looking forward to an FA Cup game under the lights, but it just wasn’t to be on this occasion.”

With the game lost to the weather we wondered if training had been affected this week as the temperatures plummeted.

“It does get affected a little bit in terms of the weather prior to the day of the game,” he explained. “You have to adapt your training sessions to suit the conditions, again with the safety of the players at the front of your mind.

“In terms of this game, and with it being called off on the day, everything had been put in place already. The players had been given the information on the opposition, and we’d obviously already played them recently, so the lead-up to the game wasn’t really affected at all. That will all now be put back and our attention turns to Port Vale on Saturday.

“Fitness-wise a spell of weather like this isn’t really an issue either. The games come thick and fast anyway through the season, so you rarely get the opportunity to run players or do other things like that.

“They’re not going to get any fitter than they are now over the next month. That’s what pre-season and your daily training sessions are for. By the time you get to October the lads are in good physical shape to take them through to the end of the season.

“As I said, our immediate attention switches to Saturday’s game. As soon as the game was postponed I was on my device sending out the relevant reports to the coaching staff, so we’ll be doing everything we can to make sure the lads are ready to get us a positive result at the weekend.”

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