United face local rivals Morecambe at Brunton Park tomorrow with both sides looking to extend their current stubborn runs of form in what is building up to be another exciting encounter.
“It’s our derby game and it’s one we look forward to,” coach Gav Skelton said at the pre-match press conference. “I’m sure they’ll bring a good few hundred and they’ll make plenty of noise.
“I think they’ll be a bit like us from last week, having watched their game back, because they’ll have felt that they should have been in front at Grimsby.
“We certainly feel we had enough opportunities and pressure to win the game at Crawley, so I think both teams will come into it feeling hard done by that they didn’t get better results last Saturday.
“We were disappointed that we didn’t win and that shows where we are. For the first 10 or 15 minutes Crawley were the better team but, after that, I felt as the away team we did more than enough to win and it was frustrating that we didn’t.
“What we have to do now is take that level of performance and commitment into tomorrow. It’s a game we’re really looking forward to.”
“In terms of preparation, we’ve played each other a few times already so it comes down to the finer details,” he continued. “We’ll look at them, they’ll look at us, and we’ll think about set pieces and different changes to shape we can use.
“It’s good to be back at home, it doesn’t feel too long ago that we played them twice away, so we’ll be trying to take the game to them.
“They’re a very organised side now. I know Derek Adams from Scotland and I know how disciplined he is as a coach. He’ll work his players and let them know what’s expected of them, and we’ll respect them for that.
“As ever it’s about ourselves and we know we’ve got some really good players. Hopefully we can build a bit of excitement with the way we play and take the game to them.”
With the fans having really got behind the team in recent weeks, he commented: “You can feel it with the last few games at home that the fans have stayed with us, and it’s a massive help.
“You can feel the energy and confidence, and that passes through to everyone, right through the club, and it definitely helps the performance levels of the players. Hopefully that will, in turn, help our results.
“I think it’s a game Morecambe will probably look at as a bit of derby as well, so it always brings that extra edge. It will be a wet and windy day, which isn’t always ideal to play in, but sometimes that brings an extra bit of atmosphere for some reason, a bit like a night game. I think it will be a good game tomorrow, and it’s one we’re all really looking forward to.”
Added interest for the teams comes with players in both dressing rooms who have had recent close links.
“It always adds a bit of interest when players are playing against their former clubs,” he said. “It does have that extra edge when you play against a former club, but I’m sure if Lewis [Alessandra] is selected he’ll be raring to go, just like he always is.
“Whoever plays, like I say, we know we’re coming up against a side that is very organised. Without taking anything away from Jim Bentley, because he did a fantastic job, Derek has come in and changed the way they’ve played a little bit.
“He’s looked at the way they’re structured and I’ve seen them a couple of times when we haven’t had games. They beat Port Vale the last time I watched them and they deserved that result. We respect them and their players, but we’ve got some real talent in our dressing as well. We’re at home and we know it’s one where we have to take the game to them.”
With just 14 games left to play he also confirmed that the focus is on moving up the table now that confidence is high in the dressing room.
“I think we’re looking up the way,” he confirmed. “We respect the teams below us, but if we win games we know it’s not a concern. We’re aware that we still need points to pull away, and that’s what we’re aiming to do.
“You want to win all the time and you want to climb up as high as you can. Looking at the teams above us it’s where you want to be at the end of the season. We’re not just happy with safety, I don’t think we should accept being happy with that. We want to win games.
“It’s massively important that we do that, and that’s why we want to win tomorrow. From winning you can build up real momentum. We look short-term, for immediate results, then long-term you’re always looking to build momentum. When you’re winning games the players get more belief as well.”
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