If you’re anything like us – and this is the case even when just one game of the 46 has been played – one of the first things you do after the full time whistle has blown is fire up the League Two table app as you begin the process of working out what the result meant, what might happen if you win, lose or draw the next fixture, and who needs to beat who in the next round of games to make things look even better.
It’s part of what football is – right?
And, let’s be honest, it starts to get even more exciting when working such things out becomes near impossible, as it is for United fans right now off the back of a month’s worth of postponements and some seemingly favourable results involving our closest rivals.
But, for manager Chris Beech, he sees things a bit differently as he takes a much more pragmatic approach.
“There’s nothing we can do other than keep looking at the next game,” he insisted. “Like I keep telling everybody, games in hand … it means absolutely nothing.”
“There are 25 games to be played, and we managed to win 12 in 21, so what we’ve got to do is utilise these 25 opportunities and win as many games as possible from here.
“As long as the pandemic situation allows, hopefully each team will definitely play 46 games. I hear and read a lot about games in hand, but there are no games in hand because every team eventually plays the same amount.
“In our case, just to repeat, we have 25 more opportunities, and we know we managed to win more games in 21 than the other teams in our division. So, what we’ve got to try to do is win more games in the remaining 25 than our opponents manage to do.”
“When the games do come and we can play again, it’ll be fantastic,” he continued. “That’s not just for us, but for our supporters and everybody who is attached to this club.
“Without the first team doing its thing, no matter how important we all feel we are, and that includes myself, we’re all pretty irrelevant. It’s the team that comes first and we know the lads will be ready when we do get to go out there again, of course they will, because we’re a very adaptable group of people who do things in the right way.
“Even now I’m speaking to the press a day early [zoom conference held on Wednesday morning] because our game was cancelled and I’ve brought the lads in as we start to prepare for Exeter.
“In theory, actually, if we think about the welfare of players, it’s probably better for them because to ask lads to come out of a 10-day break and go straight into a game is pretty horrific. That’s what we were asked to do and, as you saw, we were prepared to do that, but now it’s about getting ready for Exeter.”
And with the club having taken top spot at the start of the month, prior to the break in games, he told us: “I really don’t see it as us having games in hand, we’ve just got to look at it that we have 25 games left.
“It was great to see us where we were for however many days it was, especially without playing, but so what. It doesn’t mean anything until the last day of the season. Everybody has the same number of games we play and when we get the chance to play ours we’ll represent our traits as best as we can.”
“My only interest in the league table is on the last game of the season,” he concluded. “We have some tough fixtures to come and when we get into them we’ll be ready to give our best to the capabilities that we have, and we thoroughly look forward to those opportunities.
“We’ll look to approach each one in the right way, with the right energy and determination, and we’ll see where we go.”
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