Saturday’s home game against Exeter City saw four new players – Mark Cullen, Callum O’Hare, Stefan Scougall and Nathan Thomas – make their United debuts and manager Steven Pressley spoke after the game about the positive impact their additions had made to the group.
“We acquired some really good players in the transfer window which brought some real optimism around the club, and a real feeling that we can achieve something,” he said. “We’ve got to keep that feeling going now, and we can only do that with strong performances and good results.
“Nothing else will get the supporters behind the team more than that. We have a responsibility to keep the feel-good factor going and I thought all four of the new arrivals who were involved on Saturday made a contribution to the way we grew into the game.”
“I thought for such a young player that Callum O’Hare put in a terrific performance,” he told us. “He combined really well with Hallam [Hope] on that side and that was a real plus for us. They played some really exciting football together.
“I thought it was great for him to get the man of the match because when you come into the side you want to make a big impression, and he did that.”
“I think Nathan [Thomas] is still a little bit away from where I know he can be,” he continued. “He’s a player with real potential, but I felt he didn’t quite get to those levels.
“I said to him at the end that I think he needs games, and he needs time to really understand what we expect of him. I think he’ll be a major player for us.”
“Stefan Scougall and Mark Cullen both showed why we wanted to bring them here,” he explained. “They’re players who are full of energy. I thought Scougall had a really productive second half. He came on and really imposed himself on the game and he showed why we brought him here.
“Cullen isn’t an enjoyable player to play against, and although he’s still very early in his fitness he made a good impact. He’s only trained properly for three football sessions since his injury, so there was an element of risk in bringing him on.
“It was a risk I felt was worth taking but he’s one we have to be careful with. We know he’ll be an important player for us going forward but we won’t be pushing him too fast or too quickly. I’d rather make sure he’s ready than take too much of a risk by starting him at this stage.”
“The pleasing thing for me was that we had players on the bench who could really influence the game in an attacking sense, which is also really important,” he said. “I did consider putting young Liam [McCarron] on at right back to really have a go at it, but thankfully Dev scored and that changed my plans!
“I think we’ve got to go for it, and I’m a manager who has always wanted to play an attacking brand of football. I do put a lot of emphasis on us defending and understanding our defensive structure, but that defensive structure gives you the basis to go and attack. That’s how I will look to approach things.”
One other welcome return to the bench was that of Gary Liddle, who returned this weekend have suffered a knee injury in training following the January away game at Northampton.
“He’s fit and ready and it’s just unfortunate for him that Gary Miller has stepped into the team and done particularly well,” he told us. “That’s football for you, but Gary is a top professional and he knows we’ll be utilising him fully at some time.”
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