United’s week has been slightly different with the Emirates FA Cup game against Doncaster not kicking off until 1.30pm on Sunday, and manager Chris Beech explained this morning how he’d used the extra day to his advantage.
“It’s actually been really good,” he said. “There was something in lockdown that we were forced to do in terms of getting together, and the players who played at Tranmere were excellent because we did a warm-down on Zoom.
“That meant they could stay at home, rest, but then all get together and stretch off with our sports scientist, while me and Gav and the other coaching staff went down to Fleetwood on the Wednesday and watched the boys in their bounce game.”
“I was really pleased with the Fleetwood game,” he continued. “You could see our lads emulating what we’ve been doing in the first team.
“I thought you could see that the other week, especially in the second half. I spoke to the youth team at half-time when we played against Bradford – you could see trends and traits that represent the club, so it’s good to go and win a game, and good to see the lads doing it in the way they tried to achieve it.
“Danny Devine was excellent, as he was against Aston Villa, and there were some other good performances. It was great to see Josh Dixon get a goal, and it was a great attitude from everybody.”
On what that game will mean to Dixon, who has battled his way back from a double ACL injury, he said: “I told him last week that he did really well against Villa but, at the same point, I want him to play again before I’d cross that off, and he’s done that now.
“As far as I’m concerned, the leash is off and he’ll be like everybody else now, to be available for us and get himself in our team and in our squad and make that difference. He’s got great passing attributes, an eye for goal, and he’s got better at getting that ball back, which is really good to see.”
And with an update on Rod McDonald, who picked up a groin niggle last week, he told us: “Rod will miss this weekend, I can confirm that for definite.
“Up to now, everybody seems in good spirits. Callum Guy had a question mark over him because of the whack he took on his leg, and from the fall he had when he won that header from about 12-foot-high when he rode two lads’ backs in midfield.
“We’ll just have to wait and see on that one.”