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INTERVIEW: We're in the driving seat

22 February 2017

Shaun Brisley on his return to the side

Defender Shaun Brisley has been one of the stand-out performers since his return to the team for the home victory against league leaders Doncaster last week, and we caught up with him ahead of the Tuesday morning analysis session to talk to him about what has been an important run of games.

“It was a typical League Two game on Saturday,” he said. “We came up against a team who like to get the ball forward early, but I thought we dealt with it and showed we’ve got a different side to our game. We can pass it round and play nice football but, like we showed on Saturday, we can also battle it out with the best of them.

“When you see Akinfenwa on the team sheet you know what’s going to come. You’ve got to expect long balls into him and you’ve got to try your best not to get in a fight with him, but then try and win first contact. I thought myself and Raynesy [Michael Raynes] coped reasonably well with him, but it’s always difficult.

“The gaffer told us before the game it was important to win our individual battles all over the park. If we came out on top of that we knew our quality would show through. I think we did that man for man throughout the team on Saturday and that’s what helped us get the victory."

“The early goal they got obviously isn’t an ideal start," he admitted. "They started the game exactly as we thought, by pumping the ball forward and getting it into the box.

"We showed great character after going a goal down away from home. We gave ourselves enough time to get back in it and it was good that we got the goal back early doors and we built from there.

“I think we’re picking up the most points from losing positions in the league so that shows the good character we’ve got within the dressing room. When we go a goal behind we knuckle down and get on with it.

“Blackpool was a setback but we’ve shown great character this week to turn it round, especially when we’ve played two good teams who will be up there fighting for promotion. We’ve come away with six points from those two games, which we’re obviously happy with."

On his personal form, he said: “I think it was important for me to come back into the team. I’ve enjoyed it and I’ve been working hard in training on things I need to improve on. I was pleased to get my chance back and I’ve enjoyed picking up the two wins.

“I was frustrated with some of my performances which led to me being taken out of the team. All you can do is work hard and try and rectify those problems, and hopefully put them right.

"I’ve had to bide my time but, when your chance does come, you've got to do the best you can. Hopefully I’ve done that in the last two games.

“I know I’m good enough, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. You’re going to have tough spells in football, it isn’t going to run smoothly all of the time, it’s about how you get through those tough times that counts the most."

“The last two wins have set us up nicely," he commented. "There are still a lot of hard games to come, but they’re all hard games. It puts us in a good position going into the next few games where we play Portsmouth and Plymouth, but Cheltenham away isn’t an easy game either.

"We’ve given ourselves a great opportunity and we’ll go into those games full of confidence. Hopefully we’ll pick up points which will push us on for the final part of the season. "

Looking ahead to Saturday's big game, he said: “Portsmouth will be a big one but they all are at this stage of the season. We’re coming to the business end and we’re in the driving seat. If we keep playing like we have been in the last couple of games I can’t see there being any problems.

“Every day when you come into work you can tell we’ve got a good environment. Everyone comes in and has a laugh but we all want to work hard and do the work right.

"It shows on a match day because when we go behind we’ve got the character in us to come back and win games. That shows we’ve got that belief in the dressing room."

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