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INTERVIEW: We'll stay positive

25 January 2017

Mark Gillespie on the Accrington and Barnet games

We spoke to goalkeeper Mark Gillespie ahead of training on Tuesday to get his thoughts on the away game at Accrington last weekend.

Speaking first about the Stnaley goal, he said: “It’s obviously disappointing to get beat from that sort of range. I think you’ve got to give the lad credit, he’s hit it well with a lot of height and dip on. I’ve tried to get across but it’s clipped the bar on the way down and sometimes there’s nothing you can do.

“We were disappointed because we’d just got ourselves 1-0 up and it would have been nice to make a save and keep us ahead, but it wasn’t to be. Credit has to go to him, but from my point of view I’ll just look at it and see if there’s anything I could do better.

"It’s disappointing because a clean sheet would have won us the game and it gave them a bit of a gee-up after they’d just gone one down with ten men. If we’d managed to keep it at 1-0 until half time, or even for ten minutes, their heads might have dropped and the game could have petered out."

“It’s difficult to play against ten men," he continued. "We’ve had ten men ourselves in the last couple of seasons in the first half and we’ve always managed to get a point, so it shows it’s difficult. They dug in, you’ve got to give the lad who took the free kick credit, but I think they should all get credit for the way they played as well.

“You get your bank of four and get bodies behind the ball and it’s difficult at any level to break that down. The pitch doesn’t help either, because you’ve got to take an extra touch and things like that, but we didn’t create as much as we wanted to.

"We’ve got quality players going forward, they’ve been brilliant for us and we’ve scored lots of goals this season but it just wasn’t to be on Saturday. We had a couple of chances and their goalkeeper made one good save, but it’s another point away from home and we’ll go again on Saturday."

“I think it’s been said but the unbeaten run we went on at the start of the season started with a few draws," he said. "They do help keep you going. We’re obviously frustrated but everyone needs to stick together as fans, players and staff. If we do that we know we’ve got quality in the dressing room to get through this spell and get back to winning ways.

“I think it’s understandable that there’s some nerves on the pitch and in the terraces. This is the longest run we’ve been on without a win all season. That brings with it anxiety but we’ve got a lot of experienced players in the building and the manager is going to help us get through that in terms of getting ready for Saturday, which is a big game."

And on work don eoff the pitch, he said: “I do a lot of work with Trace [Simon Tracey] in terms of analysing myself with the technology we’ve got now. We go through my whole 90 minutes step by step. I’m striving to improve and working as hard as I can on every aspect of my game, along with the team as well.

“The clean sheet situation has been disappointing but I think you have spells like that. It might be a case of if we get one we’ll go on and get a few more. We were flying at the start of the season - I think we got five in the first 12 league games, which is a good ratio - so we know we’ve got the players in the squad to do it.

"If you look at the two goals we’ve conceded in the last two games you’ve sometimes got to hold your hands up. The free kick was a good strike and the goal Morecambe scored was a good counter-attacking goal. We’ll stay positive and we’ll keep focusing on trying to put it right on Saturday."

“Although the last few weeks haven’t been what we’d hoped for I think we all would have taken being third in the league in January," he continued. "We’ve had three defeats and we’ve been in the top three since October.

"Like I say, the players, staff and fans have all got to stay positive and stick together. We appreciate the supporters who clapped us off on Saturday because I think they can see we’re trying to win games. We’ve got a good group of players and characters, we’re all trying our best and we need that support, which was fantastic again on Saturday.

"It’s great to see those numbers at an away game and to have nearly as many away fans as home fans shows what this club is about at this level. That’s much appreciated and we know we’ll get another good crowd at home on Saturday. Hopefully we can end this little run without a defeat with a big win.

“Barnet will come here confident and they’ll want to continue the good run they’re on. They’re flying high in the league but they’ll know it won’t be an easy game. We’re going to be doing everything we can to start looking forward again instead of over our shoulders. Everyone is doing everything they can to try and catch the top two."

And on the speculation which surrounds a lot of the players through the January transfer window, he said: “The transfer window doesn’t affect me personally. There are things that get said but when you get out on the pitch, whether that’s in training or a game, there’s no distractions or excuses.

"We’ve got a lot of experience in the team with a lot of games under their belt and a lot of know-how. Part and parcel of that is putting things like rumours to the back of your mind, and that’s what we’ll all continue to do throughout January."

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