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MANAGER: Still a lot of games to play

Keith Millen on refusing to think about the maybes

18 January 2022

Seven points from the nine available in January is a good return so far for the Blues, but manager Keith Millen remains cautious as he continues to demand more from his squad, with just over half the season left to play.

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When asked if recent results and performances were signs of much clearer water ahead, he said: “It makes me laugh when people say we’re turning the corner, because I’m never quite sure where that corner is going to take us.

“I’d say Saturday was a good result, but not a great performance, but you take that. Sometimes you can perform really well and lose, but we didn’t perform as well as we have done and we got something.

“That maybe shows signs of where we are now, that when we’re not at our best we can keep going and keep a belief in what we’re doing.”

“As far as the league is concerned, we’re looking upwards, that’s all I would say on that,” he insisted. “We’re looking up the way to see where we can go.

“It’s a busy week now, with the game on Tuesday then travel to Forest Green, so the next two games will give us a little bit more of an idea of where we are.

“We’ve got new players who we are still bedding in, and I’d like to think we’re going to keep getting better, so you just don’t know.

Match Previews

MATCH UPDATE: Hartlepool

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“There’s still a lot of games to play in the league this year so we’ve got to be consistent in what we’re doing, and I think we can still find more room to improve.”

But with a much better feeling around the place, he admitted that he was challenging the players to think about why that is the case.

“I’m trying to make the players understand why we’ve had the turnaround,” he told us. “It’s not just luck, or one thing, it’s a mindset.

“It comes from hard work and attention to detail. If people recognise why you’re on a good run, it’s more likely to continue, so I’m trying to get them to recognise and talk about what we’re doing well.

“If we recognise it, hopefully we will continue doing it and keep getting better. That’s the drive I’ve got because I want to try and improve everything at the club, and I think the players have bought into that.

“They’re in a positive mindset and they’ve got a lot of belief. Even though we didn’t play that well on Saturday, we stuck to what we try to do and it was enough to get a point in the end.”

Match Previews

PREVIEW: Hartlepool

18 January 2022

When it comes to looking at the table, he talked once again about the perils of looking too far ahead.

“I know what it’s like,” he commented. “I know if you start looking at it you start dreaming of the what ifs, what if we do this or do that.

“The reality is we can get three points tonight, wherever that takes us, great. If we can keep going on an unbeaten run, you’re only going in one direction.

“If we were in the top six, it’s the same, everyone would be saying can you win to stay in there, so it’s the same mindset. If we do win, you’re in there. If we win tomorrow, we’ll be closer to the people above us.

“That’s the way you have to be. Maybe until the last half dozen games where there might be more on those games, that’s when you can start saying listen, this is a must-win for different reasons. Until we get there, let’s just concentrate on trying to win the next game.”


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And it is a busy period, with perhaps a temptation to group games together and start to think about what things will look like of the current ratio of points to games is maintained.

“Tonight is the key focus,” he reiterated. “I don’t generally look past the next game. I do look at the block of games in terms of preparation, and we’ve got a busy week this week, but we’ve got a free week ahead of the Sutton game, which will give us time on the training ground.

“The downside to the transfer window is that it creates a bit of uncertainty in the group because players aren’t sure who is going to come in, or if anyone is going to leave. That isn’t a great feeling to have around the group, so I have to manage that.

“I want to try and bring better players in, but sometimes when the window shuts everyone calms down and settles down because you know what you’ve got to work with.

“Once the window is shut I think we’ll still have 18 league games to play, which is a lot of points. Hopefully at that point we’re in an even stronger position and we can really try to kick on.”

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