We often ask players who have just signed for the club - particularly during the winter transfer window - if it feels like they’ve just been through a bit of whirlwind with the way their signing unfolded.
And that’s exactly how it must have felt for Paul Simpson, who had a game in London two days after taking over, then another in midweek, with another looming large at the weekend.
The relentless run of games has meant that training time has been scarce, with recovery and preparation at the top of the pile of priorities, but it doesn’t appear to be a situation that has fazed the new boss.
“It doesn’t frustrate me because it’s just what it is,” he said. “I don’t believe you should worry about things you can’t control, and the fixtures and training schedule are what they are. It’s about the players being ready.
“We trained last Thursday and we travelled down to Birmingham on Friday, Aston Villa were kind enough to let us train on one of their pitches, and we did a really light session there.
“On Monday we had the situation where some people were caught up in a crash on the M6, which was really difficult for the players because we had eight of them stuck for about four hours.
“I actually said to the players, I like a bit of chaos, I don’t mind that, it makes you focus. When everything’s going well you can sometimes take things for granted, but with the chaos you have to get your mind properly tuned in.
“The players did that for Tuesday, they had a rest on Wednesday, and they were ready to train again today [Thursday]. Some of those lads have put a real shift in with two games so quickly, and we’ve gone above the season average for distances covered, high intensity and sprinting.
“They’re certainly putting the work in, and we can’t really fault that. I want the commitment and work rate to continue and hopefully we’ll add some better football to it as well.”
Tuesday night was a real high, with a vocal crowd backing every kick and tackle, but it’s back to reality very quickly with a big task still lying ahead.
“In terms of bringing everyone back down to earth, I’m not really sure I can affect that to be honest,” he told us. “I felt before the game that there was a really good noise in the changing room. That doesn’t always happen nowadays.
“There was a really good sound in the changing room which gave me a good feeling. The way they played the game, the way they worked, gave me a good feeling.
“They’re obviously delighted after the game. I always go in and I’m just quite calm. I said right, you’ve earned the right to go and have a rest tomorrow, make sure when you come in on Thursday you forget about this one, and get ready to go again.
“Because if we do it properly on Saturday, this is a brilliant result. If we don’t, we’re back not to square one, but we’re taking a little step back.
“We’ve had two big steps this week and we’ve got to keep going, even if it’s small steps over 13 games, let’s make some small steps and keep moving forward rather than taking a step back to have to come forward again.
“They seem in good spirits, they’ve all gone about their business properly and done what they need to do. Let’s see what they’re like today, that’s what really matters.”
“It certainly hasn’t looked like a team that’s in trouble for a week, and I don’t know what the reason is for why it’s suddenly changed,” he commented. “It’s always a frustrating thing when I watch football clubs change managers and suddenly you get a reaction from the players.
“You do wonder why it didn’t happen for the previous guy, and you ask why it’s come now. Sometimes it’s just a different face, a different voice and, being honest, I haven’t asked the players what they feel has changed.
“I haven’t asked what Keith was like or how he managed because it’s not really fair to go asking those questions. It’s more about me saying, this is what I’m going to do, and I hope it works. So far it has, and if we keep doing the right things, we should get the right results.”
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