A tough week is pretty much what you expect from any week in any season, and manager Paul Simpson confirmed that Thursday had been used to do some final dusting off as part of the preparations for the weekend trip to Tranmere.
“They’re ready, but they have to be, it’s as simple as that,” he insisted. “It isn’t a case of ‘will you please be ready’, we’re just going to have to be.
“There isn’t a long time left of this season, it’s the whole of April and one game in May, so it isn’t a lot to ask for them to go and give their all for this last little run of games.
“I’m quite sure the players want to do it, there’s been no easing off from them. There’s been no talk of holidays, or anything like that, it’s about head down, do your job properly and see where we end up.”
“I certainly haven’t changed anything this season just because we got beat on Tuesday,” he added. “I’ve had a couple of individuals in the office and I’ve shown them some clips of different things I think they can do better, or differently.
“It’s interesting, the players who I’ve sat with, the sort of common theme is wow, I didn’t realise that’s what I was doing on Tuesday. They didn’t actually realise it was going on, but now they’ve seen it.
“It’s the really good part of football now, we have this technology that can do it. There’s many games in my career that I’m glad they didn’t have video technology to show me back. I wish there was times where they could have done.
“I can’t guarantee it would have made me any better but it wouldn’t have made me any worse as a footballer. I think it’s really good that we’ve got this facility, and the players all seem to be responding in the right way.”
“We’ll talk more about Tranmere on Friday morning and we’ll go through what we see them doing,” he continued. “The way I try to do it when games are coming thick and fast is to incorporate a view of the previous games and lessons learned to look at how that will help us in the next one.
“We’ll do a bit of that on Friday as well, we’ll get the team named and we’ll look at set-plays, and things like that, and then it’s onto match day.
“Today was always going to be a recovery day and a top-up session, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. I don’t believe in changing plans just because of a result.
“I don’t sulk about things like that, it’s just one of those things, you get on with it and you do better for the next game.”
Looking for consistency in both results and performance levels, he commented; “It’s consistency in how we go about the game.
“It’s not a case of throwing everything out of the window because it has been a really good March. We’ve had two disappointments, but the club had many disappointments before I came, as the league table showed us.
“It’s trying to get ourselves going again, but I will be thinking about freshening things up. That definitely isn’t a reflection on any individual, it’s just that this is what I think will be the right thing to do this weekend.
“I’ve still got a couple of days to finalise what I want to do, but come Saturday the players will know exactly what we want from them and what we think Tranmere will do. It’s a case of us going back to doing the good things that earned us the good results.”
Making things even more interesting come teamsheet exchange time are the number of options, with Kelvin Mellor and Rod McDonald back on the bench and Gime Toure also knocking on the door.
“It’s a great problem to have, I don’t mind this,” he confirmed. “I’d much rather have a selection headache than the team picking itself because there’s nobody available.
“We have a full group, I think 21 will travel barring anything happening between now and Saturday, and it’s now down to me to pick the right team that will do us a job.
“Gime is close, he trained really well this week to be fair to him. I’ll give him his due for that. He was going to travel with us on Tuesday, but he said that if he wasn’t going to be on the bench he would rather stay up here and train to help get fitter.
“He made that decision and it wasn’t him being disruptive in any way, it was just honesty. I like it when players are honest with me. I would expect he’ll come back into the mix for the weekend and he’s certainly in my mind to be involved, as are quite a few of them.
“Kelvin and Rod are ready to be selected. It’s my fault that they haven’t been, none of their issues. They’re fit and training. I’ve explained this to them, when I’ve had individual chats with players, if they were in that starting team that’s won six out of seven games and I’d left them out, I think they’d be knocking on my door wanting to know why.
“The lads who are starting have earned the right to start. I probably should have changed some on Tuesday night if I’m really honest but that’s something I only learned after the game. I just thought they were right to go.
“I had players knocking on my door because I was saying about them being tired after Saturday. They were coming and saying look, I know I was getting cramp, I don’t want to rest. I want to play, I want to stay in the side.
“When we spoke about it as staff we were like no, let’s go with them again, let’s stick with them, because it was a brilliant effort. I felt as though they deserved to go again because of the way they went about it.
“It’s easy to say it now but I was probably wrong. Who knows, if I’d picked a different team, whether we’d have won. But it’s up to us to pick the right team this weekend, it’s up to me, and hope they go and perform.”
Click HERE to watch an interview with Paul Simpson on iFollow United now.
Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.