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INTERVIEW: We've just got to take each game as it comes

Tom Parkes on his current form, the Sheffield Wednesday game, and the Crewe game

11 January 2018

Defender Tom Parkes has become a regular feature on the left hand side of a bank of three centre backs in recent weeks, playing alongside two very experienced defenders who have notched up almost 1,100 appearances between them.

We spoke to him about his run of good form ahead of a double session of gym and CV work on Tuesday afternoon.

“We’d had a difficult couple of games before the Sheffield Wednesday game so it was good to put in a good performance on Saturday,” he said. “To come up against a good Championship side like Wednesday and get a clean sheet was a positive for us, because we can take that into the game against Crewe on Saturday.

“We worked on the shape the day before the game and we worked on covering positions and things like that. It’s been drilled into our heads and Saturday has given us a starting point which we can hopefully take into the next few games, and we can build on it from there.

“The FA Cup is obviously a great competition but we’ve got Crewe to focus on before the replay comes around. We’ll work hard this week to prepare for that, and hopefully we'll get three points before we move on to focus on Sheffield Wednesday."

“I think we can take confidence from the 5-0 victory against Crewe earlier in the season," he told us. "They came out of the traps quickly at the start of that game but we calmed it down and went on to make it our game.

"We played some really good football and the strikers took their chances. If we can put in a similar performance on Saturday I don’t see why that can’t happen again.

“Before the two losses against Coventry and Mansfield we were playing some good football, we were creating a lot of chances and the strikers were putting them away. Those two losses hurt us a little bit, because we’d been on such a good run. We’ll take the positives away from the Sheffield Wednesday game and look to build on them."

“We aren’t as close to the play-off positions as we’d like but we’ve seen before how a run can get you right back up there again," he commented. "A lot of people talk about what Exeter did last year, they were bottom of the league and ended up in the play-off final. We’ve just got to take each game as it comes. If we can do that we can look at league positions after games and keep trying to climb the table."

On the FA Cup draw, which saw United or Sheffield Wednesday draw Stevenage or Reading at home, he said: “I didn’t actually watch the FA Cup draw because I was travelling back up to Carlisle, but I was keeping an eye on social media and things like that.

"It’s one of those - you want a big club but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the replay before we look at a potential fourth round game."

And speaking more about his own form, he told us: "It was difficult to get back into the team after my ban. When I was playing I was giving it everything, but sometimes it’s down to the manager and him wanting to use different formations and things like that.

"In the three games we won on the bounce he stuck with the same formation, which is one I enjoy playing in. I’ve just got to make sure I keep my confidence high and try and keep doing the right things, which will hopefully mean I keep my place. I’ll keep working hard in training and prove to the gaffer that I deserve that place.

“When you’ve got Gary Liddle and Clint Hill next to you it does help a lot. They are two massively experienced players. I was going to say I was young, but I’m turning 26 soon - but I am still probably classed as young when I'm compared to those two!

"It’s good to play with two players like that because they can help me through games and they let me know if I’m not where they need me to be. Those two have been outstanding in the last few games, so to play alongside them will only benefit me."

On the atmosphere at Saturday's game, he said: “The fans were brilliant for us against Sheffield Wednesday. They could see Wednesday were having a lot of the ball and putting pressure on us, but they stuck with us. 

"When we got on the ball and tried to create things they got right behind us. They've been brilliant this season. If they can stick with us and we can get the results for them it will be good for everybody.”

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