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MANAGER: It's good to have him back

Keith Millen on an explosive return from Lewi Alessandra

16 January 2022

It’s been a long two months for striker Lewis Alessandra but his first appearance since the November home game against Barrow brought one of those moments every footballer lives for – an important goal bagged with almost the last touch of the game.

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The experienced forward dusted off the disappointment of having an earlier chance saved, and the frustration of a prolonged rehab process, to glance a superb delivery from Brennan Dickenson into the back of the net, thus sparking fantastic celebrations.

“Lewi has worked so hard since his injury,” manager Keith Millen said. “He’s been training for the last week or so and he’s determined to get back to where he wants to be.

“Sam Fishburn has got a slight knock, maybe the workload has caught up with him a little bit, so it was right to rest him.

“Lewi has come on and scored the goal, so in the end we all come away with smiles on our faces, when really I couldn’t see that happening.”

“It was a great header and it comes from him being on the move in the box,” he continued. “He sprinted towards the ball and that’s so difficult to defend against when you’re on the move.

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“We work on that with our front men because we’ve got to be more active rather than just standing there. As a defender it’s a lot easier to defend against strikers who don’t move, so it’s extremely important that we have that.

“It’s great for Lewi, we have to get him fitter, and it’s good to have him back. Zach Clough is medically fit and back in training, so we do have competition for places.

“It’s a busy week and my job to look at whether I need to freshen it up for Tuesday. Are we a little bit tired in certain areas, but at least I’ve got some options.”

“I’ve spoken to Lewi about getting himself fit and available and he’s excited to be playing in the way we’re playing,” he commented. “He thinks it suits his game. We’re playing two front men and he prefers that, and he’s a good pro who works hard. He definitely adds to my options.

“I’m pleased for him that he’s got out there and scored his goal. It’s come from a corner and we’ve talked about that a lot.

“I felt there were opportunities for us to really punish them, they’re one of the few teams that leaves two players up.

“You could see the first corner we worked on, where we ended up getting Brennan on the edge of the box, it’s that final ball or bit of quality at the end.

“We do work on them, and the subs coming on have had an impact again, which is great. We were really pleased with the result at the end, but the performance wasn’t to the standards we’ve been at recently.”

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