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Club News

MANAGER: It comes down to the second game

Paul Simpson with more ahead of tomorrow

19 May 2023

Anyone who has followed the play-offs at any point since they were introduced will know that home first or away first makes little difference – with the most recent proof in the pudding of that being Coventry’s solid win at the Riverside on Wednesday night.

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“When you look through the history of play-offs the first leg is always a little bit tentative,” manager Paul Simpson said. “We had something different between Peterborough and Sheffield Wednesday, but generally they’re always tight.

“The second game is what it all comes down to, so we’re in a game where we’re 1-0 down with 90+ minutes to play, and we’re confident we’ve got enough.

“We know we’ll have to play well and do the things we did at Bradford, and we need to do them better than we did last Sunday.

“Like I say, I think it’s easy to call us a long ball team but I’m a manager who doesn’t want to take silly risks in my own defensive third, I don’t see the point in it.

“We’re not Premier League players, you just have to watch the games on the TV and you see top defenders and goalkeepers giving the ball away in their own final third and conceding goals, so why as League Two players should we take that chance.

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“When we get in the middle third I encourage our outside centre backs to get involved and our wing backs to play. We’ve got midfielders and forwards who are comfortable on the ball, so I’m quite happy if we have two thirds of the pitch playing football and one third where we’re quite direct.

“I’ll be honest, I don’t actually care what anybody else thinks. It’s about what we do and how we get results, that’s been my philosophy all the time and I will not change. I want us to play well, whatever well means to somebody else, but I want us to win the game.”

And it’s a game that will be played once again in front of a bumper crowd.

“It’s absolutely fantastic,” the gaffer commented. “I know Bradford have filled their section and I’m sure they would have wanted more.

“We’ve got to give our fans something to go and shout about. We did that in the second half at Bradford on Sunday and we need to do it again.

“We need to make them be noisy, and I understand players need to lift supporters, but I’m asking the supporters to come and lift us as well and do their bit.

“I want the players to lift the supporters, the supporters to lift the players and see if we can get ourselves over the line together.”

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