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Interviews

INTERVIEW: We know how big Saturday is

3 March 2017

Luke Joyce looks ahead to the Plymouth game

We caught up with midfielder Luke Joyce at the team hotel in Bristol on Thursday afternoon as the squad continues to prepare for the Plymouth game on Saturday.

“Everybody was disappointed on Tuesday,” he said. “Especially after the result of the Portsmouth game, we wanted a reaction and we fully believed we could go to Cheltenham and win. To lose the game, after battling away on a tough pitch against a tough team who are fighting for their lives was disappointing, especially with it being so late on.

“The pitch was really tough. I haven’t played on one like that for a long time. We had to alter the way we played to suit the conditions. At the same time, it was the same pitch for Cheltenham and they played it better than us on the night, and we have to accept that.

"They’re used to it, but as a professional footballer you don’t expect to play on pitches like that. It was the same for both teams on the night and Cheltenham found a way to win the game."

“We’re frustrated," he continued. "The last couple of days have been tough because we would normally go home and see our families and things like that, which help you to stop thinking about it too much. We’ve stayed down here so we’re surrounded by each other, but it’s given us more time to work towards Saturday.

“A good performance on Saturday is important for our own sake, and for the fans. We want to get ourselves back on track. Nobody likes losing games but to lose two in such a short space of time is disappointing.

“We know how big Saturday is. Nobody will be promoted on Saturday but if we can get the three points it will be massive. They obviously had a disappointing result at home on Tuesday night so if there are nerves or frustration we'll hopefully be able to play on that."

On spending the week in the south-west, he said: “To be able to stay down has obviously cut down on a lot of travelling time for us. To travel back from Cheltenham on Tuesday night, then travel back down to Plymouth, would have been a lot to ask of the lads.

"The club have provided this for us so we can be as professional and prepared as we can be. We’ve trained today and we’ll train again tomorrow. The good thing is that everyone’s focus is on the game on Saturday.

“We’ve been able to spend some good time together as a group. We went out for food last night and watched the Man City game, and we’ll probably do something similar tonight. Everyone is together which is good for team spirit and the unity within the group."

“We’ve had a couple of defeats but the belief is still there," he insisted. "We know we’re a good team with good players. We’ve only lost six league games all season.

"After a couple of losses you don’t become a bad team and there’s no better way to respond than going to Plymouth on Saturday and getting the win."

And on his role as team captain, he said: “It’s always nice to wear the armband. It’s something I’m really proud of and I enjoy doing.

"Mind you, if Danny [Grainger] is selected on Saturday I’ll be more than happy to give him the armband back. He’s the captain and if he's playing it will be great to have him back in the team.”

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