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Club News

MANAGER: Everyone is going to be needed

Paul Simpson on needing his full group

7 August 2023

Club News

MANAGER: Everyone is going to be needed

Paul Simpson on needing his full group

7 August 2023

With an almost fully fit squad to choose from it was always going to be a tricky task for manager Paul Simpson when it came to fine-tuning his 18 for the opening day game against Fleetwood.

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“I said to the players in the team meeting that it was difficult to pick the first 11 but it was even harder to pick the seven for the bench,” he explained.

“I’ve talked about it all through pre-season, we were successful last season because we had a real togetherness about us and those who weren’t involved today all have to stick together.

“There will be changes on Tuesday, not wholesale changes, but there will be a couple which I’d already decided would happen before today. It’s a good group we’ve got and I really hope everybody sticks together to give us a fighting chance.

“The pleasing thing was that they were all in the dressing room at the end of the game and I think it’s really important. It’s about the squad.

“When you look at the added time today you can see that we’re going to need them all. We’re going to need energy, and we’re probably going to have to make changes every now and again to freshen it up.”

The start of the game brought debuts for striker Luke Plange and centre back Sam Lavelle.

“I think Luke has been a bit unfortunate today, because he’s absolutely worked his socks off,” he commented. “Things didn’t quite work for him in terms of finding the final pass.

“He did all the good stuff leading up to it, but he didn’t get his final pass or shot off early enough. But he’ll take a lot of confidence from that today.

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“And once we get Sean Maguire fit he’s going to be a real top addition to our group. And Ryan Edmondson is fully fit.

“I wanted Sean Maguire on the bench, we needed options, I needed somebody on the right side to cover as a centre back, and Ben Barclay gives us centre back and right wing back, so that’s why Jack Ellis wasn’t involved.

“I wanted Joe Garner involved because of his influence around the dressing room. It could quite easily have been a very good decision if Joe had stuck that header away at the end.

“Fans have to understand we’ve got a squad of players, I can only put seven on the bench, everybody’s going to be needed as we go through.

“I had some bloke giving me stick in the Paddock for not taking Callum Guy off when we’d ran out of stoppages. You can only do three stoppages, I couldn’t take Callum off. Supporters need to understand and realise the actual state of the game.”

Midfielder Dylan McGeouch was another to make his first competitive appearance for his new club.

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“He’s a good footballer, he knows what he’s doing and just added a little bit into that midfield,” the manager said. “Over this season they’re all going to play a part, they’re all going to be important to us, every single one. I just hope we all stick together.

“We’ve had a bench today that probably all hoped to start, we’ve had four or five players in the stands who all wanted to be involved. We’ve just got to stick together and we’ll all be needed as we go through the season. 

“For Danny Butterworth, I felt it was too early for him. He joined in training with everybody on Friday. Him and Kai Nugent were the only two who I didn’t consider for the game.

“Kai’s still not back training. Once we get Dan fully fit he will come into our thinking without a doubt. I think Tuesday will still be too early, because he was still a couple of weeks behind in terms of his football fitness, a bit like Sean is.

“We’ve got to keep trying to build those minutes on the training pitch and hopefully we can get them up to speed.”

Touching on that ongoing need to add to the group, he told us: “We’ll discuss it again, I’ll speak to Greg about it.

“When nothing had happened by Wednesday I told him I didn’t want to be distracted for this game. He’s been working away in the background doing what he needs to do.

“We’ll speak Sunday, get back together Monday, and we’ll do what needs to be done. There’s not a lot of room in terms of finances to do a hell of a lot, but we’ll wait and see what we can do.”


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