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Club News

MANAGER: We'll need to roll our sleeves up

Paul Simpson ahead of the Port Vale game

25 August 2023

Club News

MANAGER: We'll need to roll our sleeves up

Paul Simpson ahead of the Port Vale game

25 August 2023

The always difficult trip to Port Vale is next up for United as we head south on Saturday for our latest away game.

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And it’s to face a group of Valiants who have more than bounced back following their opening day shock at Oakwell.

“They had a hammering at Barnsley in their first game of the season and I think that was probably the biggest surprise of that first round of fixtures,” manager Paul Simpson said.

“They’ve done well since then with a win in the cup against Fleetwood, two wins and a draw in the league, and a good result on the road away at Charlton at the weekend.

“We know it’s going to be difficult but I’m going to say that for every game. It is a tough league. League Two was a tough league, and we’ve stepped up now.

“Like I keep repeating, it’s a brilliant opportunity for us, this is another great place to go, and we’re up against a team that will be expecting to win. We’ve got to go and make sure we get our players and performance right.

“It’s going to be a challenge for us. They’re a big, physical side, and we’ve got to use our style and system on a big pitch to be really effective and hope we can nullify any of their threats. 

“It’s actually a great place to play football. It can build up in favour of the home team if you allow it to, but it can also build up in favour of the away team if you play it right.

“That’s the thing that we’ve got to try to do. We’ve got to try to get our start to the game right, get our style of football right, perform well, and see what comes at the end.”

It’s a style of play from our hosts which could see them try to peg the Blues back with a very efficient approach to the game.

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“There are times when they play out from the back through Ripley, but in general it tends to be about getting it forward and getting men around the second balls,” he commented. “They’ve got forward players who can cause problems and midfielders who have legs about them.

“They’re a strong League One side that we’re going to have to be prepared to roll our sleeves up and battle against. We’re going to have to match them.

“But we have to keep reminding ourselves that it’s about us. That was our thought process all last season and it hasn’t changed. We do look at the opposition, but it really is about what we do.

“It’s about us performing to the levels we know we can in all sides of the game. I expect us to absolutely work our socks off, like we have done so far, and maybe even give us a little bit more.

“I also expect us to play the football that we’re capable of playing, I want us to create opportunities, which I thought we did better on Saturday, and we now need to add being a bit more clinical to that.”

“We want to fine tune the selection of the 18 for every game with that in mind,” he added. “It isn’t going to be the case that one team is going to see us through, that doesn’t happen.

“We do have to get the team selection right but that’s the challenge I’ve had every day since I came back. It’s a really nice challenge to have.

Match Previews

PREVIEW: Port Vale

24 August 2023

“There were times last season where the team picked itself because of injuries, but we now have good options. We want even more to add to that, and that’s not me being greedy, that’s just the way that it is. We’ll keep going until we get the right permutations for each game and then we’ll assess the selection for the next one.

“The encouraging thing is that we’ve seen a lot of very good things. There’s been some decent football, good defending, and if you look at the goals against and the goals for columns, we can all see where the issue is.

“That’s something we want to get better with. We were very good with it last season, changes have happened in the squad, some I was happy about, others I wasn’t happy about, but it’s where it is.

“We move on, we get on with it, and we’ve got a group of players now who all want to do well. We need to make sure it’s a doing well full performance and not a doing well in patches performance as we go on from here.”

Another significant number of away fans are expected to make the hop into Burslem.

“It’s fantastic,” he agreed. “We’ve had good numbers everywhere, even when they’ve been really bad journeys, we’ve had good numbers.

“The supporters have been brilliant and we can’t thank them enough. We just hope we can perform, to give them something to make it a good journey home.

“I thought the supporters at home last time out were superb with the way they stuck with the players and the way they stayed there until the end and clapped the players off.

“We’re all disappointed that we lost at home, massively disappointed, but the fans showed that they can see that we’re trying to do things right.

“They can see that we’re building up a little bit of a relationship and we’ve just got to keep with it.

“I’m delighted that we see hundreds of our supporters when we travel away from home, because it isn’t easy, so we’ve got to make sure we do things in a way that keeps them smiling and shouting.”

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