A ruthless attacking streak and a solid defensive display combined to bring United’s best performance of the season so far at the New Lawn on Tuesday and boss Chris Beech spoke about the importance of how the new arrivals have gelled quickly within the squad to the improved displays which led to back-to-back league victories for the first time in over a year this week.
“It’s about everybody working hard and, in terms of the new players, it’s strategic recruitment,” he explained. “It’s not just recruiting because people are available, or for the sake of it.
“I want players here who represent us in the right way and we’re seeing that more and more as we go on. Obviously new additions mean selection considerations, but I want that. I want players to have to earn the right to start, not just expect it.
“We’re happy, but I still want one or two more. That’s why we’ve got to have your eyes and ears close to the ground, because these things change often, but I can assure you we’ve been working heavily on recruitment.”
“It’s all work you don’t see and it’s very tiring actually,” he continued. “Before the Forest Green game I had a recruitment meeting at the hotel and I still want to being more in if I can.
“David [Holdsworth] is supporting that, I’m really pleased with how we’re going about that because it means we’re recruiting players with good business transactions. It’s funny because people ask how it’s going, and I actually had a conversation with a player as were getting on our team bus to go from the hotel to the ground on Tuesday night.
“It’s about keeping lines of communication open all the time because you never know when it will be that it all drops into place. If you miss or ignore a call it makes it less likely that it will happen.”
Speaking more about the impact some of his January acquisitions have made, he said: “Our front two were quiet for the first 10 minutes on Tuesday but then they really got going.
“Josh Kayode got his goal and Lewis Alessandra was a real handful again. For the lads who aren’t playing, it’s not personal, the example’s set in effort, hard work and intelligence. You’re allowed to be that, or repeat it and get that shirt.
“Nobody’s stopping you doing that other than yourself. That’s the environment I want to create. They’re hard conversations to have at the hotel when you’re leaving Scougall and Loft out of a winning team.
“I have to protect our honour, our way, our winning way. I looked at the games where we’ve played possession-based teams that have beaten us – Crewe, Colchester, Plymouth. Forest Green are one of them.
“We did well in the cup against them in horrendous conditions at Carlisle but we knew Tuesday would be different. We had to look at who was available, how it would work and then we had to sell it to the boys.
“They have to have an understanding of why they’re not playing and not sulk. They did and I was pleased, AND we saw Scougall come on and show excellent endeavour.
“Jack Bridge is another. He’s missed out in some games recently. I’ve had conversations with him, he’s a technical football player, but I’ve been frustrated with him when he’s played inside.
“I dropped him after the Plymouth game and I told him that he has to understand that situations in games where he can affect things are vitally important to us. He played in the Blackpool reserve game and his attitude was fantastic.
“I saw good things out of him so I’ll support anybody who is willing to work hard and do their job, and who is prepared to run hard, as he did. Again, on Tuesday, we saw good things from him, and these are the types of reaction to disappointment I want to see.”