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Club News

MANAGER: Nothing has changed

Paul Simpson on the task ahead on Saturday

18 May 2023

Club News

MANAGER: Nothing has changed

Paul Simpson on the task ahead on Saturday

18 May 2023

Looking back at the weekend trip to Bradford with manager Paul Simpson, at his midweek press conference, he spoke about taking the momentum of the second half into the biggest 90 minutes of the season this coming Saturday.

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“We knew it was going to be a tough game, we were playing against Bradford City at their place in front of 20,000 fans, so we knew it was going to be tough,” he said. “I thought the way we went about it was good, without going over old ground there was a nervous start and that sort of stuff, which is to be expected.

“I thought the players showed real character, a good level of performance and a good energy. We now know we need to win the game on Saturday, it’s as simple as that.

“The fact of it is, that hasn’t really changed because we knew we were going to have to win it anyway.

“I’m really looking forward to it, I’m hearing things about how big the crowd is going to be and the support, and training has gone really well this week. It’s a brilliant occasion to look forward to - and I always say you enjoy it much more when you win.”

An encouraging aspect from the first meeting was the way that many players who had never experienced anything like that before handled the occasion.

“They did handle it once they’d got over the first part of the game, and once they got to grips with the enthusiasm that Bradford started with, and the type of football they started with, which is a little bit different to what we expected,” he told us.

“Everybody wants to label us as a direct side but they were quite direct with the way they went about it, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It’s about finding a way to get a result.

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“They went direct and won the second balls off Cook, then the lad got in behind and finished it for the goal. They won’t be bothered how it happened, and we’ve got to find a way this weekend to stamp our mark on the game from the first whistle.

“We know we don’t have to win it in the first five minutes, we’ve got a long time to do it, so we’ve just got to make sure we stay with the game. That’s what we did after going a goal down on Sunday.

“I thought we showed a calmness about us with the way we played. We got the ball down and passed it and stretched them, we got in, but the one criticism is that we didn’t finish it, so that’s what we have to do better.

“We knew we’d have to score at some point over the two games, so that hasn’t changed. We know what Bradford are about and they know what we’re about, so it’ll be whoever handles the day better.”

A scare from the encounter was a heavy landing for midfielder Callum Guy, who was eventually substituted as a precaution.

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“He’s fine, he’s trained all week,” he commented. “Everybody has been involved in training all week so there’s no issues as we stand at the moment.

“We’ve got people like Tobi Sho-Silva and Brennan Dickenson who have had another week of training, so they’re a little bit closer again.

“We’ve been told by Forest that Fin Back won’t be ready, and that’s a shame for him. His season is done, but that’s the right call for them to make.

“Morgan Feeney was never going to be ready for this one, it’s always been a possibility that he might be available for the final, if we were to get through.

“Obviously Jon Mellish misses out for his third game, and he’s been training really hard and doing what he can to make sure he gets another opportunity by helping the lads and being really positive around the dressing room.

“We’ve got JK back available as well, so we’ve got some really good options. The other lads who have been on the bench or who have travelled are all wanting to be involved. It’s just a case of picking a group who are able to go and perform.”

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