MANAGER: A chance to catch our breath

It feels like the first time in a long time that United haven’t had a midweek game to contend with, and manager Paul Simpson confirmed that the coming week will be a good chance to prepare fully for our next home game against Gillingham.

“It will be a chance to catch our breath a little bit,” he said. “We’ll still be doing the work because Gillingham is a really important game, but the players who have played a lot of minutes will get a little bit of rest time.

“Saying that, there’s also a group of players who need to keep working hard. We’ll have some proper training sessions for those who need topping up.

“We’ve got the Manchester United cup game the week after so we’ll need everybody fit and available, because that might be their opportunity to show us what they can do.

“I’m really conscious of having players who aren’t playing regular first-team games, who then come in and aren’t fully fit, because people then criticise them.

“We’ve got to make sure we get them to a level of fitness so if they are selected for that game they’re ready to go and show what they can do properly.

“I think that’s really important, not only for us as staff and for the football club, but the players themselves so they can go and do themselves justice.”

“We did consider a game next week, but we’ve exhausted all the avenues and we can’t get one,” he continued. “We’ve got to make sure in training. we can’t replicate a game scenario, but we can put training on that simulates the actual workload they would do.

“Because we use GPS, in each of the exercises we do in training we can calculate what type of physical load that gives us and how close it is to a game scenario.

“We know some of the sessions we do will get them into a game and physical loading area. Then it’s up to the players to go out on Saturday and build their way back into the games.”

Looking more closely at how the week will be structured, he explained: “The first phase of it, particularly Sunday and Monday, will be an opportunity to give the lads who’ve had regular minutes some more rest time.

“Then it’s a full week of work for us ready to prepare for next weekend. It’s a bit of a top up because we’ve had the midweek games, we can get some fitness work into them, not running, football fitness work.

“Getting reminders in about how we want to play, how our shape is. Hopefully we’ll have some more lads out on the training pitch with us and give us some real options. 

“It gives me a chance to get players fit, or back with us. That’s important for the medium and long-term because we can’t be rushing players back.

“If we do that, they end up out again. That isn’t good for anyone. We end up chopping and changing. I want everyone fit, we’ve had a depleted squad through no fault of anyone’s, and I don’t want to cause more of that by getting players to play if they aren’t fully ready.

“That’s why we’ll be careful with Owen Moxon, Ryan Edmondson and Morgan Feeney. They’re doing some work and we’re building them up.

“I’m hoping one or two of them should be available to train, but we’ll just wait and see. It’s difficult, we have to get them fit for the long haul, it’s not a quick fix just to get them fit for one game and they break down again.

“We need to get them right, to get rid of these issues they’ve got and hopefully that will happen this week.”

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