It’s felt like an age since the Blues have gone a week without a midweek game but Saturday’s away victory at Bradford was followed by an opportunity for the squad to mix preparation with recovery as they get ready to ‘go again’ through the busy festive period.
“It’s been a good week of preparation for Saturday’s fixture,” manager Chris Beech said at his Thursday morning virtual press conference. “The lads have recovered well from what was a strong performance at Bradford and we’ve been able to combine a bit of rest with the important training we need to do.
“Everyone is in good spirits and you need that kind of feeling when the games are coming at you thick and fast. The players are taking on board a lot of what we’re asking them to do, but we still need more.
“We can’t rest on our laurels because, if we allow that to creep in, we’ll start going backwards. We know now that we have to adapt to the different approaches we see from each opponent we face, and sometimes we have to be able to do that within games.”
“It’s interesting at that at this level you come up against teams who will be particularly good at set plays, and things like that, then the next week it’s a possession-based team who look to pass their way around you,” he continued.
“That’s why the onus is on us to try to find an answer in everything we do, be that in how we recruit players who have that ability to adapt, or with the tactics we use as we go into each match.
“I love a passing style of play, and I want us to do that, but it always has to be with a purpose. It’s no good passing and building up possession stats that are eye catching if there’s nothing at the end of it, so it’s all about finding the balance that will keep you picking up points.
“There are different ways of getting there but, and I’ve said this before, football doesn’t ever really change. You start with something you need to protect, a clean sheet and a point, and you then have to work hard to gain something, the three points that everybody wants.”
Looking ahead to the all-important seasonal fixture spread, he commented: “December is always a period that’s seen as vital, but so is every game as far as I’m concerned.
“Outlooks can change with almost every 90 minutes you play, so you have to make sure you’re sticking to the traits that serve you well.
“You have to build up your resilience so that you can find consistency, but you also need some quality within that. I’ve been really pleased with the quality in some of our play recently, but I really do believe that there’s still more growth to come within it.
“We do have to remember that we have lads here who have never completed full seasons or had consecutive runs of appearances, so it’s a group that’s learning and developing all the time. I find that to be really exciting and it’ll be interesting to see how we deal with the challenges ahead.”