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MANAGER: We have good blend

Keith Millen on variations within an identity

1 February 2022

Speaking not long after the most recent transfer window closed, manager Keith Millen reiterated the importance of identity with the remainder of the second half of the season now the focus.

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And there is no doubt that the influx of a mix of youth and older heads on the final day has brought a new dynamic to a squad that now has a number of selection dilemmas.

“Our identity is what we are, and I’m not going to change that, but to have different variations within that is really important,” he confirmed. “The age and experience of some of the players is good because I don’t have time to teach every one of them every part of the game.

“I’d love to have it, but it’s just not possible. Hopefully the older lads will help the younger ones and you always need a blend where that’s the case. We have that, so now it’s a case of bringing them together as a unit.

“We have a great group of players here so I’m sure that won’t be a problem. Getting the type of player we wanted to add leaves me feeling relieved, I’ve got to say that.

“Yesterday [Sunday] things weren’t looking so good, and I’m a bit surprised that we’ve managed to get the mount of deals done that we have, because I’m not used to this much change-around.

“With transfer windows you just don’t know until the final day and, like I say, I didn’t expect Zach to go, so things can crop up. Sitting here now I’m really pleased that the window is shut and we can concentrate on the games we’ve got left.

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“I’m just really pleased with the balance of the squad now. This January transfer window takes a lot out of everybody, you get disappointments along the way, and you do so much work with no reward on many occasions.

“At the same time you’re trying to keep the group of players who are here happy, and then there are games to manage, and our focus now is on trying to get a win at Salford, which will be tough.”

With a wide range of attacking options now available, we wondered if he felt that the scoring and creating issues which had dogged the season thus far have been solved.

“We’ll see,” he replied. “There are certainly a lot of variations with target men, experienced goal scorers, and plenty of energy and running.

“I’m spoiled for choice now, and that’s nice. I’d much rather have this problem because I can change things from the bench or from the start, so I’m a lot happier sitting here tonight.

“There are a lot of games still to play and we’ve maybe had a reality check, you could say, over the last couple of games where we’ve not been as great as we possibly thought we were.

“We were up against what I thought were the two most effective teams in the league, and it tells you where you are, but the important thing now is to try to bed all these players in.

“I’m not going to make wholesale changes, because you don’t need to, but to have the options I’ve got now, that’s the difference.

“There’s not going to be six or seven changes, you can’t do that in a week, so we’ve got to stick to the basics of what we’re doing and I think the new players will add to that.”

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