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MANAGER: That's an incredible number

Paul Simposon ahead of the Wimbledon game, and on the travelling Blues

10 February 2023

The visit to Wimbledon on Saturday means a trip to a new ground for most of us, with Plough Lane redeveloped and the home team looking to build on the step forward their new surroundings have provided.

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“I think Johnnie Jackson has got a good side there,” manager Paul Simpson said. “I’ve watched two or three of their games this week and it is going to be tough.

“It’s a lovely little ground, one I haven’t been to, so there are a lot of things to look forward to. We have to make sure we put on a performance, whatever they’re going to do.

“We have an idea of what we think they’ll do and what their shape will be, and who the personnel will be, but we’ve just got to concentrate on what we do.

“So far this season that’s worked for us. If we can go and do it again this weekend it’ll give us a bit of a leg up to get a result.”

“We’re preparing for the fact that they can play a bit of football and mix things up,” he added. “They’re a football side who don’t take chances and they have the likes of Gunter and Pearce who bring experience, and their forward players a potent in the likes of Pell and Davison.

“They’ve made a few good signings in the window, so we know it’s going to be a difficult game for us.

“I do think they’ll be looking at us and thinking that it’s going to be tough for them as well because of what we’ve done. It’s about who is up for the fight, who is ready for the battle and it’s about us making sure we do all we can.”

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And it goes without saying that the Blues are going there with the intention of bouncing back from last weekend’s result.

“We’ve had good reactions after disappointments previously,” the gaffer said. “When we lost the game at Doncaster on New Year’s Day – wow, that seems a long time ago – we saw a brilliant reaction.

“We’ve had some good performances and results so we need to get ourselves going again. We’ve got to make sure we do the next game properly so we get ourselves on another good run.

“I don’t think I need to manage the expectation because I think they’re a really good group of people that we’ve got here.

“We keep having to drive the standards and we’re talking about working every day in training as hard as we can.

“We’re probably only together on a daily basis for maybe three or four hours of each day, so it’s not a lot to ask for them to come in and be totally focused during that period.

“That’s for the pre-activation work, the work in the gym, what we do out on the grass, at lunch to make sure you’re eating the right food and you’re getting your vegetables in and you’re rehydrating properly.

“We have to be really good during that time that we’re in here together, and then you go away from the club and you do things properly within your life there as well.

“If you do that you have a better chance of being the best version of yourself when you’re working around the place and, more importantly, on a match day.

“I also accept that it might not happen on some days, as was the case against Harrogate, but if you do everything you possibly can to prepare well, you have a better chance of being successful.”

Backing the away team on Saturday will be close to (possibly more than) 1,000 supporters.

“That’s an incredible number, but they really have been magnificent for us,” the manager said. “From day one when I came in, it’s nearly a year now, they’ve been superb.

“The players have given them something to be pleased about, and the incentive to want to come and follow us, so we’ve got to make sure again that we give them another performance, and then another, and another.

“The big thing out of last weekend was that the fans actually stayed with us. It would have been easy for them to have been critical, but they stayed with us, and we’ve got to go and reward them with performances.

“Not just at Wimbledon, but over the next 17. We have to do enough to make sure they enjoy the end of the season as well.

“I’ve said this a few times, but it makes a massive difference when you walk out and see a big away following. We’ve got to do all we can to keep them with us.

“They’ve stayed loyal and they’ve stayed patient with us, now we’ve all got to push on again. I want it to be 17 really big performances and preferably 17 big results.”

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