MANAGER: Hopefully it'll settle quickly

There was real cause for concern with just under half an hour played on Saturday afternoon when winger Brennan Dickenson dropped to the floor for the second time in as many minutes, following what had been a strong challenge on the halfway line.

A wave towards the technical area confirmed that a substitution was needed, with assistance from physio Ross Goodwin also required as United’s number 11 limped his way to the bench.

“It’s a dead leg,” manager Keith Millen confirmed afterwards. “Taking a knee to the thigh can be very painful at the time. It will stiffen up now without a doubt, it just depends how much bleeding he’s got in the quad muscle.

“Hopefully it’ll be ok for him in two or three days. It certainly didn’t help us when he had to go off, so we’ll see and know more on Monday.”

And on the return of Kelvin Mellor at right back, he told us: “It was a tough decision, that one.

“Joe has been playing a lot of games and has done well, but I thought Kelvin was excellent. The back four generally, we never really got opened up.

“The goals weren’t down to the back four. I’ll look at the game, there’ll be some positives from it, but we know we have to do a lot of work.

“It’s more that I need to look at how we’re going to be more of a threat. I want us to be able to play and get passing the ball. Teams like Northampton, if you go up against them and play the game they’re playing, more times than not they’re going to come out on top.

“They’ve got the players to do that. I thought we dealt with it generally but then you’ve got to have a way of playing yourself that’s going make them think. That’s what we need to try and work on this week.”

“There’s more we can do in training, without a doubt,” he continued. “I said to them after, me and the staff need to look at whether it’s a system or way of playing that’s going to help them.

“Sometimes you change the system and it gives them a bit of belief or confidence. But it needs to suit the players we’ve got. I’ve always been a believer in that.

“I’ve already said, we haven’t got the forwards or the players to play a long ball game. That’s not an answer, there’s nothing wrong with it, but there are other ways of playing if you don’t have the players who can do it.

“I keep coming back to the same thing. We’ve got to have a way of playing that hurts the opposition. And when our subs come on, I told them afterwards that have to make more of an impact, otherwise what’s the point of putting subs on.

“They have to try and change the momentum of the game. For everyone, I spoke to them about the fact their body language is huge. If I go to a game and watch the team from the stands, you can pick up that they’re not in a good place, purely because of their body language.

“Heads did drop a little bit and you end up not working and running around as much, because you choose to hide away a little bit. That has to change, I won’t allow this group to let their heads drop. You can’t do that.”

Expanding more on how he’ll look to make that the case, he told us: “All you can do is work with them, give them an understanding and some confidence, because if you’re going to try and get on the ball and pass you have to make sure you’ve got the right angles and right support.

“That’s just working on the training ground. Hopefully the more you do that the more understanding of what they’re about develops, and if they want to be more of a passing team that can create and open teams up, they’ve got to do it.

“I’ve got to show them a way and system that allows them to do that, and then hopefully it comes. It’s small steps, but it was always going to be small steps.

“There was no way after two days it was going to be a drastic change. If someone expected that they’re kidding themselves. I certainly didn’t.”

“I do feel for the fans because the travelling they do, they were brilliant in their numbers,” he concluded. “I said to them before, we’ll do everything we can to turn it round. And we will turn it round.

“Hopefully they’ll keep coming to watch us, keep supporting, but they’re as frustrated as all of us are. Probably more so, because they can’t do anything about it.

“But I feel for them, I really do. I know what it’s like. I can assure them, they players are hurting in the dressing room, but it’s not a dressing room who are that down or have thrown the towel in, nothing like that.

“It wasn’t going to be a quick turnaround, and nothing’s really changed. We’ve got a week now to put it right.”

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