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MANAGER: One to look forward to

Paul Simpson with initial thoughts on the first league game

3 August 2023

As ever, pre-season has flown by, with the next outing for the Blues their return to League One action at home to Fleetwood Town on Saturday [kick off 3pm].

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“This is what we’ve been building towards,” manager Paul Simpson said. “It’s been a bit of a microwave pre-season because we’ve had to get it done quickly.

“Hopefully with more a normal training schedule we can have a good week this week and be ready to go next weekend.

“This is as much of a normal training week as you can get because we’re now preparing for Saturday. We need to be sharp, we need to be lively, we need to get the energy and enthusiasm back that we had in abundance at the end of last season.

“We need to take all of that into what will be a brilliant day. I’m quite sure the fans will come out in their numbers for that game and I’m looking forward to it.”

“Friendlies are good for prep work but it will feel different for everybody once we get to Saturday," he added. “It’s a brilliant day to look forward to next weekend. It’s the first game back in League One and it's got to be about us.

“We have to make it right for us. The supporters have been magnificent since I came back however long ago it was. Last season they all got rewarded for everything they spend, for all of the journeys that they make, all of the support they've given us.

“And this weekend's the sort of the start of it all again for us. You look around the ground and I think we've got every part of the stadium sponsored now. It's just been brilliant from local businesses, all the boards around us are all full.

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“It's fantastic. There's a real, real, positive buzz about it. We need to make sure the football's got that buzz about it so that we keep the fans happy.  

“I’m quite sure they’ll come out in their numbers. They’ve been superb. It's a great season to look forward to, a real challenge for us and I know that come next Saturday everybody will be up for it.”

And now that the build-up games are gone, it’s about preparing for the opposition as the games through August will start to come thick and fast.

“We won't be changing anything,” he said. “They'll get the work days, they'll find out the team later on in the week and we'll finish our last bits of preparation.

“We’ll look at Fleetwood, what we think they’ll do, and, as always, we’ll concentrate on us and where we think they’ll cause problems.

“Like I say, I know the fans will get behind us. I mean, I don't think the fans need any encouragement.

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“Even when we’ve had offers and promotions on certain games, they come anyway. They’ve been outstanding and my only message to them is that we still need them.

“This is a big step up for us as a football club. We've probably gone up earlier than we expected to, so it’s going to be a challenge.

“We've just got to keep working together and stick together and hope that we can put smiles on faces with our performances week in, week out.”

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