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INTERVIEW: The commitment and effort was there

Gavin Skelton with reserve match reaction

12 December 2019

United rescued a point with almost the last kick of the game at Frenchfield Park on Wednesday afternoon having gone behind just 60 seconds earlier to what looked to be a winning goal for Wigan Athletic.

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Speaking about the dramatic finish to what had been a tight Central League Cup reserve game, Gavin Skelton said: “First of all, credit to Penrith for hosting us and getting the pitch ready.

“They were excellent hosts again and we were pleased to get the game on. It wasn’t the most entertaining game, it was pretty drab at times, but the commitment and effort was there. It was a heavy pitch, and overall we’re really pleased with the result because Wigan are a team who play together every week.

“A lot of them have grown up together through the under-18s and things like that. Our reserve team is a lot of 18s plus lads that didn’t play last night [against Forest Green on Tuesday] and we got something from it. In the end it was a pleasing result.

“It’s a competition game, a cup game, so we didn’t want to get beaten. It’s nice, when you concede so late, to come back and score, and the lads will get a lift from that.”

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Having conceded so late in the game, he commented: “It was disappointing because we’d defended a lot of their set-pieces really well. I think we lost the first and second phase, but we showed good character, they switched off a bit and we got a draw.

“The trialist, Jayden Majoe, did well. He cut it back and I’m pleased for Charlie Barnes to come steaming in at the back stick and score for us. Wigan are a strong team, you can see how competitive they are, they’ve got an under-23s coach and they train as a group, so they’ll be disappointed they haven’t won.

“Being honest as a spectacle it was poor, I can’t deny that, but result and effort wise I can’t complain.”

United’s starting line-up had first team players Louis Gray Christie Elliott, Olufela Olomola, Mo Sagaf and Elias Sorensen with Keighran Kerr, returning from injury, waiting to get his call from the bench.

“I thought the two centre-halves did really well, and second half especially the two experienced lads, Mo Sagaf and Christie Elliott, were excellent,” he told us. “They applied themselves really well.

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“The second years are going for professional contracts, the [older players] have a responsibility to come in and perform with the right attitude to give the second years every chance of performing well and impressing the manager, who was here to watch.

“We’ve got a busy Xmas spell coming up, another game Monday, and the first team lads have got to be ready, for when they get game time for the first team. This helps them be ready. You can train all you want but there’s nothing like a bit of game time for the body and mind.

“We took Fela off after he’d been involved in a heavy challenge. It was just precautionary. There’s no point risking it and making it any worse. He did get a knock, but he felt fine and could have carried on.”

With Blackpool on Monday and Fleetwood in the New Year to round off the group fixtures, he said: “We won the first one against Morecambe, we had the draw today, so we know we need to do well in the remaining two fixtures.

“You want to do well and win every game you can, and we want to progress. That’s why we’ll go to Blackpool to get the points.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Gavin Skelton on iFollow United now.

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