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MANAGER: It's about building on what we've done

Paul Simpson on his approach to the League One campaign

27 June 2023

Club News

MANAGER: It's about building on what we've done

Paul Simpson on his approach to the League One campaign

27 June 2023

Fresh from a promotion winning campaign last time round manager Paul Simpson revealed this week that he’ll be using exactly the same approach when it comes to targets for the club’s return to League One.

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“Your first aim always has to be to achieve the number of points you need for safety and for staying in the division,” he explained.

“Part of what I do in the summer is to look at the last five or six seasons in the division that we’re in to see what points were needed on average for safety, for a play-off place, for an automatic spot and to be crowned as champions.

“What I’ve found for League One is that they’re all higher than they were for us last season. I ended up being two points out on my prediction for safety, three points out from what was needed for the last play-off place and one point out from my predicted total for the champions.”

“Whatever the actual points total ends up being, the sooner you get close to it the better,” he continued. “Once you’re there, whenever that is, you can start to look at the next one, and then the next one.

“That’s what we did last season, and by getting to safety as quickly as we did it meant we could start to target the top seven places.

“But your main aim and focus has to be, at worst, staying in the league. It’s about taking small steps to build on what we’ve achieved so far.

“We can’t and shouldn’t start trumpeting bold statements about making it to the Championship within the next two seasons because that comes back to bite you.

“We’ve been building gradually, we’re probably ahead of where we thought we would be right now, so let’s keep building, progressing and moving forward.

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“That isn’t me being pessimistic, by the way. That’s me being realistic. I have a graph on my notice board in my office for the season ahead, and first and foremost it’s about staying above the red line as we go through the season.

“It’s not so much about working out how many points you need each month, or anything like that, it’s more about consistency.

“Most teams will have rocky patches during every season, so having that graph is a good way to keep your eye on the bigger picture. If we do lose two, three or four in a row, hopefully the graph shows that there have also been good spells.

“That helps me to stay calm, and if I’m calm that helps the players to stay calm. Collectively we’re then able to deal with everything in a much better way.”

As discussed a number of times already, he’ll be going up against some of his former clubs for the first time in a while once the season gets under way.

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“It goes without saying that I want to beat them all,” he joked. “I know that with some of them I’ll be applauded, and at other places I’ll probably be booed.

“Ear plugs will be in for some of these away games so please don’t anybody think I’m ignoring them.

“To be honest, I’m looking forward to every game. If we do things well it takes us to Derby on the final day and what a great game that could be.

“Whoever we play, the biggest thing for me is that I’m looking forward to seeing the crowds we’ve been getting coming back again.

“There’ll be more away supporters, so that adds to the sense of atmosphere, and I just can’t wait to see this place bouncing again.”


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