INTERVIEW: There’s nothing like a game to keep things ticking over

The postponement of the Saturday game had a feeling of inevitability about it, almost from the moment it was confirmed on Thursday that a pitch inspection was required.

Although a quick rearrangement isn’t ideal for the fans, a prolonged spell without a competitive game was a concern for both clubs, with agreement reached with the EFL that it could be played on the first available midweek date.

“It’s not ideal, but it’s this time of the year and these things can happen,” assistant manager Gav Skelton said.

“We’ve been here before and all you can do is get on with it. It gives us an extra day or two of training to prepare, with the game now being on Tuesday night, and all you can ever do is make the most of it.

“The most important thing now is that we go there next week and get a result. That’s all we’re talking about at the moment.”

A key part of the build-up during the week is maintaining focus on the fixture ahead, so does that get affected as players start to look at weather forecasts and hear confirmation that inspections are going ahead?

“We’re all the same, we’ve all seen the weather up and down the country and looked at the forecasts,” he commented.

“We were all probably thinking that it was really going to struggle anyway. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that.

“It’s good that there was a pitch inspection because it’s miles better knowing where you’re at before you set off.

“It’s a nightmare for the fans, because they’ve been a massive part of helping us to get some really good results on the road, and it’s a lot easier for them to travel on a Saturday than it is on a Tuesday.

“But as we saw a couple of years ago, when you don’t try to get postponed games in as soon as you can you start to get a real backlog, and that did affect us back then.

"But in terms of what the fans have brought to us over the last few away games it’s probably them who have got us over the line. It doesn’t help us that way.

"We’ll lose a little bit of the numbers we would have seen, with it now being a midweek game, and that is frustrating. We know how good our fans are when they’re vocal and there’s a lot of them.

"We're not hiding away from it, it is a big negative that the supporters can’t get there. We know we have so many who go on the bus and who love their away days.

"It’s not ideal, it’s harder for them to get to, there’s time off work that some of them now won’t get, it’s all just frustrating for them and we totally understand that.

“But we're also not hiding away from the fact that from the football side it’s a good decision, and it’ll be a great decision if we got there and get a result on Tuesday.”

Had the shift to Tuesday night not happened, it would have meant a gap of three weeks between the last competitive outing and the Boxing Day clash with Bradford City.

“I think experience tells us that you need games, not just for the leg work but for the mentality that comes with playing regularly,” he told us. “You need to keep focus and a game on Tuesday then, another on the following Monday, refocuses the mind, which is as important as the training sessions.

“You really don’t want to go over three weeks without a game because that is hard, no matter how much training you’ve done.

“There’s nothing like a game to keep things ticking over, physically and mentally, so it’s a positive from the EFL and both clubs to get it sorted so quickly. However, we do know that it’s really not great for the fans, and we feel for them.”

On how the lads react, with their second game in the space of a fortnight lost to the weather, he said: “They just moan about everything, so it doesn’t really matter, they just take it in their stride.

“You learn to switch off because they’re obsessed with checking weather forecasts, you’ve just got to nod your head and smile at them. In all seriousness, we’ve just been trying to keep them as focused and mentally ready as we can.”

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