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INTERVIEW: Stranger things have happened in football

Skipper Danny Grainger ahead of the weekend visit of Luton Town

20 April 2018

United captain Danny Grainger confirmed that the squad is looking forward to the challenge it faces over the final three games of the season, starting with the visit of Luton Town on Saturday afternoon.

“The players are determined to keep going until it’s either mathematically impossible to reach the play-offs, or we’re in them,” he said. “We’ll keep looking to get the results because stranger things have happened in football.

“We know it’s a big ask and that it’ll be a tough test against a good Luton team, but we’ll keep plugging away at it and hoping that things go our way.”

“We all know this Saturday brings us a game we have to win, but that’s the same for every game at this stage of the season,” he continued. “The result at Morecambe last week was very disappointing for us. I thought we were the team most looking like getting a victory and I don’t remember Jack [Bonham] having too much to do, particularly in the second half.

“That result means this is a must-win because anything less than that and it’s more-or-less game over, you would think. There’s a huge amount of frustration that we’re in this position but it’s been like that for the last couple of weeks. We’ve put in some performanceswhich have been ok, and we’ve got into positions where we should have done better.

“But that’s been the story of the season so far. We’ve been in these good positions, but we’ve maybe just fallen short at the critical times. We’ve made ourselves hard to beat but draws aren’t the best results at this stage of the season. It’s those results that will probably hamper us getting that play-off spot, if we do find that we’re outside the top seven.”

Heading into a game with so much at stake for both clubs, he said: “There is a lot at stake, you can’t hide from that, and games between us and Luton do seem to have an edge to them, for some reason. That’s good for everybody and it should make it a decent game for the fans to come and watch.

“Luton are a team who started the campaign well, but they’ve had their dip. They’ll be hoping Accrington will suffer something like that so they can go for that top spot. I can’t see Accie doing that, because they’ve been superb all the way through, but we know Luton will be going for it. They have players who have made it into the team of the year, so we know they’re packed with quality.”

“Every game at this stage is like a cup final,” he agreed. “We need results, it’s a simple as that. Like I say, a draw is more like a defeat when you only have a few games left to go.

“We want to give our fans something to shout about in this last couple of home games so they can look forward to next season. We know we’re a good team and there’s no reason why we can’t get three wins.

“I said at the start of the season that promotion was our target and we’ll be disappointed if we fall short. League tables don’t lie – the best teams get promoted and the worst teams go down.

“The fans have been behind us and they’ve travelled away in numbers. If we do our jobs hopefully it will leave a little bit of a buzz around the club for next year. Luton are bringing a lot of fans and it’s great when there’s a good atmosphere at Brunton Park.

“They do what they can to pull us through and get us over the line. Hopefully we’ll be party poopers and we’ll keep our season alive for as long as possible. We don’t really want to see another team celebrate at our place because we feel we should be doing that ourselves.”

And on his own immediate future, he told us: “I’m just enjoying my football and taking every day as it comes. Everyone knows I want to stay here and play for this club for as long as I can.

“I have no thoughts of wanting to go anywhere else, but if other people tell me I have to do that, then so be it. Fingers crossed come the end of season I’ll get a meeting and I’ll find out what’s happening going forward.

“In my case, I’ll always give the club the chance to let me know what they want to do with me first. My representatives know I want to stay and finish my career here, obviously if the club wants me.

“If that isn’t the case I’ll shake hands and move on with nothing but good to say about the place, and I certainly won’t be trying to force anyone’s hand in the mean-time.”

“I wouldn’t say the situation has caused uncertainty or unrest in the dressing room but there are people who want to know their futures,” he concluded. “That’s just natural because there are families and mortgages.

“The club doesn’t have to tell us anything until the middle of May, so we’ll just continue to do our jobs. Coming to the end of playing contracts is part and parcel of the game so we just get on with it.

“Part of my job as captain is to make sure we’re focused on what we need to do going forward. We want the club to do well, so the football comes first. The rest of it will be sorted as and when the time is right.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Danny Grainger on iFollow United now.    

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