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MANAGER: They were a real threat

Paul Simpson on Kris Dennis, goals and playing to create a threat

9 April 2023

Club News

MANAGER: They were a real threat

Paul Simpson on Kris Dennis, goals and playing to create a threat

9 April 2023

Kris Dennis became the first striker to get 20 goals in a season for the club for 17 seasons [Karl Hawley back in the 2005/06 campaign] and manager Paul Simpson praised the striker’s poise after the game, as well the approach play that led to the clinical strikes.

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“I hope he keeps going over these last six games,” the gaffer told us. “I made a decision a couple of weeks ago that I needed to get him back in the team, because I’d felt as though he’s been looking tired when I took him out of it.

“The strikers we had in the side in Omari Patrick and Joe Garner were doing a job, so he missed out. I know he got frustrated, I think he was a bit naffed off, but he kept going and thankfully he’s getting his goals again. Long may that continue.

“He’s waited, I know he was disappointed with it, he didn’t actually tell me that, he totally understood when I explained why I was leaving him out. He wasn’t very happy about it, but I think he’s been kicking his heels and waiting for that chance.

“I made a decision to bring him back in and try and have a bit of consistency with strikers, and thankfully it’s paid off. The two of them worked well, Omari and Denno, and they linked for the first one.

“I thought they were a real threat. That was one of Omari’s better games in possession when he’s going and being positive. Owen Moxon, although he still was taking a few too many chances and touches, he was better on the ball today.

“I thought there were some good all-round performances that got us a big win. We can call the goals a striker’s goals, but they can’t be easy because not everybody does it.

“You have to have that knack of having an expectation where the ball’s going to land. It was great play from Omari for the first one and a real calmness to slide it for him to tap it into the semi empty net.

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“The second one he’s just been Johnny on the spot again, a great header from Jack Armer at the far post, great cross from Mox, and Denno’s there to smash it in. He’s on 20 now, that is fantastic, and I know he wants to get more.”

Looking at the overall attacking play, he commented: “I thought we caused them quite a few problems. I expected to have spaces in wide areas for our wing backs, and that’s why I wanted them to play nice and high.

“It was a day that was about being on the front foot and being positive. I told them that they’d earned the right to play in front of a big crowd, whatever number turned up, so go out and enjoy it.

“It was the biggest thing I wanted from it, for everyone to enjoy it. I’ve seen so many times in my career where everything builds up and you get a big crowd, them it all falls flat on its backside. Thankfully we got the result, a really big result, and it sets us up nicely for Monday.

“And it matters that we got the goals. They don’t matter as much as points, I want to get as many out of these last 18 as we possibly can. We needed to get back to scoring goals.

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“We haven’t got screwed up about it, it’s been frustrating, disappointing, all those sort of feelings, we just knew we had to get back to being a bit freer about how we played, and we certainly started with a bit of freedom.

“We worked hard to press them high up the pitch because we expected them to try and play. We worked the ball in good areas. I sometimes think the opposition dictate how you can do it.

“Against Stevenage they didn’t try and play out from the back, they went direct, so we never got that opportunity to press. For Tranmere we had a game plan that the players went out and did, that was really good because the chances came from pressing them high and forcing them into mistakes.

“And when we did, we had a better calmness about us to find a better pass, first and second half. We had good bits of play. We talk about normally if you have five or six passes you’ve got control of the game, but it was about the first two or three passes in and then you take some control.

“That’s where the chances came from. That was really pleasing to see. We had that calmness which we’ve probably not had over the last run of games.”

“Like I say, I thought Omari had his best game for a long time,” he concluded. “I don’t think he understands what a strength to have his pace is.

“It’s as if some footballers are embarrassed about being quick and don’t want to show it. When he does it, what a handful. At times he’s unplayable because of his pace, especially up against big centre backs who don’t really like running back to their own goal.

“We need him to keep going, we need him to stay fit, so he’s got to look after himself, and he can be a real threat for us in these last six games. 

“I’m sure that will give him confidence. There was a bit of a doubt he was going to be fit, he was feeling something, but he declared himself fit on Thursday and trained fully. I was really pleased with what we got from him, we’ve just got to keep him with us and keep his head right.”


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