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Club News

MANAGER: We know what to expect

Paul Simpson ahead of tomorrow's big game

17 March 2023

United face Stevenage at Brunton Park on Saturday afternoon [kick off 3pm], so we spoke to manager Paul Simpson about what is another huge game.

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“They’re a good side, the league table says they’re the second-best team in the league, but we’re the third best and we have to remember that as well,” he said. “We’ve got to go and try and leapfrog them.

“We know that regardless of what else is going on, on Saturday evening, if we’ve done our job right, we can be back in second place. That’s all we’ve got to focus on.

“We know what their threats are going to be, they’re a tough side to play against. They’re physical, aggressive and they get the ball forward. They’ve got players who can get goals, but so have we.

“We’ve got a side who are playing with real belief and confidence, and they’re a group of players who are really looking forward to the challenge.”

“There’s no need for us to prepare any differently just because it’s another team up at the top with us,” he continued. “We’ll prepare exactly the same way as we do for any game.

“Footballers aren’t stupid, they know what Stevenage will be like and I think if I asked the players to present to me what they expect from them, they could tell me.

“They’ve been talking about watching bits of their game against Crewe and different sets of highlights and things like that, so we all know what to expect.

“We’ll do our usual final bits of preparation on Friday and we’ll be ready to go, we’re all looking forward to it.”

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The weekend away win at Swindon took United’s current run to four wins in a row.

“To win four games on the bounce on the back of three games where we didn’t score a goal is a real achievement,” he agreed. “That’s what happens when you get a bit of momentum, when it’s on a negative side it’s hard to break it, and when it’s going well you just keep rolling on.

“Maybe that’s what happened with the last-minute goal at Swindon, players have belief and they just keep going, they suddenly get a burst of energy they wouldn’t get if we were on a losing run, and we’ve got to make sure we keep doing that.

“This weekend is going to be a tough challenge, which I think all of the next four games will be. We’ve got this one on Saturday, then Bradford, Gillingham and Orient away. They are some tough games, but if we can do this block properly we can be in a really good position come the end of the season.”

And the challenge has to be to take that run to five?

“If you can win five games in a row, that is some going, no matter what level you’re at,” he commented. “We’ve got to do that. Stevenage have come through their rocky patch and picked up two straight wins, so it’s all to play for.

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“It’s a really good game at home, hopefully we’ll have a good turnout from our supporters, which will bring a good atmosphere. The biggest thing is that we’ve got to make sure we put on a performance.

“With what we’ve done so far we’ve given ourselves a chance. I said at the start of the season that you build your whole season up to work to get to the last ten games with something to play for.

“I’m going to be really honest, when I was looking at the last ten games at the start of the season I was thinking we were going to give ourselves the chance to stay in League Two.

“We’ve got a massive bonus here because we’re now looking to achieve something bigger and better, and after the work we’ve done since we started last June, we’re now in a really good position to push on, and that’s all we’re hoping for.

“We’ll give it our best shot and who knows where it will take us. We’ve got a lot of other teams who want to knock us off our bike, but hopefully we can keep going and achieve something really special.”

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