Assistant head coach Gav Skelton admitted today that the recent weather conditions had made planning for training sessions, difficult, but that it was something the management team were simply taking in their stride.
“Everybody is used to playing in these conditions now,” he said. “We trained on the main pitch on Tuesday and that’s a real credit to the groundsman to give us that opportunity, particularly when we’ve had such terrible conditions.
“It meant we had a good session on Tuesday, and we’re back on 4G outside today after training indoors in the Neil Centre on Thursday. We can’t control the conditions so you just have to adapt.
“The weather isn’t great up here, but I think it’s been the same everywhere this past week. We’re used to it, we’ve been hopping between different facilities, but it is what it is. It would be great if we had ten training pitches that were immaculate all year, but that isn’t the case.
“We were grateful to be able to get on the main pitch this week, and we’re lucky to have the Neil Centre so close to the ground, which some clubs don’t have, so it’s just the way it is.”
“When it comes to playing in the wind and rain it’s a mindset, because you can’t control it,” he continued. “Last week was an entertaining game but I think when people turned up and saw the pitch, and then felt the wind, they’d have thought it wouldn’t be that way.
“Sometimes the pitch can be dry and the sun can be out and it’s a boring game, so it’s all about how you approach it at the time.”
Speaking about this week’s assessment of Callum Guy, following his medial ligament injury picked up in the game against Cheltenham, he commented: “He saw a surgeon on Tuesday and it was hoped that he wouldn’t need an operation. The specialist felt it was best, along with our medical staff, that he has the operation.
“That means we’ll miss him for the rest of the season, which is a huge shame. He’d shown good signs in the spells he had but, again, this is all part of football and we move on.
“The feedback we had from the specialist was that we could leave it for a couple of weeks, but he still might need the operation anyway. That would have put him back even more, so I think it’s the correct decision for him to get it done. It’s a shame how it happened, but him being out now gives somebody else an opportunity.”
“We’ve had good news for Joshua Kayode,” he continued. “He’s started his rehab, he’s done a bit of running, and hopefully he won’t be too far away. Harry [McKirdy] has trained this week, so he’ll be back in the squad for Saturday.
“For the longer-term lads, Kelvin Etuhu sees a surgeon in London in a couple of weeks, but his rehab is going well. We’re hoping he’ll be back in the near future.
“Josh [Dixon] is working hard, and it’s a real credit to him because he’s had two tough seasons. Hopefully he’ll be ready for next season because if we can get him fit, he’s a real talent.
“He’s got a strong family behind him and it’s hard for him to come in every day and watch his mates go out to play while he’s in the gym. It’s the kind of thing that will make him better in the future, not just as a footballer but as a person.”
“Everybody else is raring to go,” he told us. “The new players have settled in really well. The recruitment in January was good, we’ve brought in some good professionals, and they’ve fitted in to the standards we’re looking for from the group really well.
“They’ve all contributed and it’s a shame that we won’t see a couple of them as much this season as we’d have liked. That’s football, that’s part of it, but I do believe our squad has improved.
“We’ve got some good young players coming through to add to it. Taylor [Charters] has done really well and I’ve been pleased for him. We’ve got some really good staff right through the academy and it’s shown in the last couple of years with how we’ve produced players.
“Some of them are starting to get into the first team, and that’s been a group effort, not just from the staff now but over the last couple of years as well. Without putting too much on his shoulders I think Taylor has a big future in the game.
“It’s good that the manager has shown faith to keep putting him on ahead of senior pros, and he should take confidence from that. He’s at that level now where he should believe he should be in the first team and he should be knocking on the door, not just accepting that he’s in the squad, but pushing to get in the team.
“If people show interest in our young players, as they have recently, because they’re doing well then that’s just part of football. If teams come for him it means he’s doing something right and the club is doing something right.
“It’d be great if these lads could play 200 games for us and get us promoted, but that’s the market these days and you just have to accept it. It’s really promising and exciting that we’ve managed to get a few through in the last couple of years as far as I’m concerned.”
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