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Club News

MANAGER: We all know what's at stake

Paul Simpson on the club's current position

17 March 2023

Tomorrow’s game pits second against third as Stevenage come to town having taken second spot following their 2-0 home win over Crewe in midweek.

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Speaking about the weekend’s big fixture, manager Paul Simpson said: “We want to be involved in games like this. It’s a great challenge for us.

“When we spoke on Saturday I did expect us to be sat third because I thought Stevenage would get a win on Tuesday night, which they did against Crewe, so they’ve taken that second place back off us. I’m delighted with where we are.

“If you look back a few weeks, we were loads of points away from those top places, we’ve managed to catch up a hell of a lot and we’re sitting in a good position. The challenge is for us to go and finish the job off properly in the last 11 games.

“We obviously want to stay in those automatic places, but I still think it’s a challenge for us to stay in the play-off places as well. We’re looking to make sure we get enough points to make sure it’s a good end of the season.”

“Of course we all know what’s at stake,” he insisted. “There are different things that come with success, there’s the financial rewards or the fact that you have a promotion on your CV.

“That’s where we are, we have an opportunity to get some success. I know there’s still a long way to go, there’s still 33 points to play for. We know where we are in terms of our points total, but I haven’t even spoken to the players about what’s needed because we don’t know.

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“Everybody plays each other. I can look at my graph that tells me what it’s been for the past five years, but this year might be different. We’re doing ok, we’re on course to be successful, and now we’ve got to make sure we stay on that course for the final 11 games.”

And a big part of seeing the job through will be how the players cope with the different pressures of being at the top of the pile.

“I think it’s about being able to manage and handle expectations,” he told us. “I’m quite sure everybody will turn up on Saturday thinking we’re at home so we should win the game, but it isn’t going to be that straight forward.

“We’re going to have to work hard, compete and be good on and off the ball. If we can do all of those things we will be fine.

“I think this is just the next game, it’s not different because of who it’s against, it’s just the next one. Players are used to playing games of football, we’re maybe not as used to playing games at the top end of the table, but we’ll see what we’re made of.”

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