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MANAGER: It's the story of our season

16 March 2024


MANAGER: It's the story of our season

16 March 2024

Manager Paul Simpson spoke to us after the defeat at Shrewsbury.

“There were key moments in both 18-yard boxes and we’ve come out on the wrong side of them which means we don’t get anything from the game” he said. “I thought we showed a bit of control in the second half with the way we passed the ball, but when we got into the final third we weren’t able to find the right opportunity.

“We did get a couple of good chances, but we weren’t able to find the finish which is disappointing. It’s the story of our season, but we’ve just got to keep going.

“We had some control in terms of possession in the second half, but it’s both 18-yard boxes where it counts, and we didn’t have it there. The number of goals we’ve conceded this season and the number of goals we’ve scored tell you that we’ve struggled with that for the whole of the season, not just today.

“It’s something we’ve got to address and improve moving forward, and that’s what we’re trying to do. We’ve fallen short again today, and we’ve just got to get ourselves picked up again.

“If we’d scored the chance just before the break it would have been a different game but it’s all ifs and buts. Our goalkeeper had to make some good saves to keep us close and we didn’t get enough of those big opportunities that you have to make count.

“You can’t just rely on one opportunity per game, you’ve got to try and create more. We tried to be positive with the team we picked today by having three forward players in the hope we could get a bit more from those forward areas.

“We did huff and puff, and we had some opportunities, but all in all it’s a disappointing game for us again. We have to keep remembering that there are a lot of positive things to be preparing for, we’re very early into a medium-long-term plan for the football club. We have to take these really tough moments but make sure we stay strong and keep believing in what the plan is.”

“Harry probably will be disappointed for the goal,” he continued. “We also have to be thankful for the number of saves he’s made today. It’s always easy to focus on the one that went in, but I think we need to remember he’s made a number of really good saves today.

“There were opportunities before the shot got to Harry that we should have dealt with better, and we didn’t. That’s the thing we have to do, make sure we’re all in this together and do all of our jobs properly so it doesn’t come to situations like that.

“We don’t want the season to slip away, we’re trying to be as professional as we can be to try and get results. This is another one that has gone today, and I felt as though if we’d been absolutely spot on in the final third we could have got something out of it, but it isn’t the first time I’ve said that this season.”

“The fans were absolutely outstanding again,” he said. “They’re continuing to turn up in their numbers every week, we can’t fault them. We’ve just got to hope they stay supporting us and stay with us because we want to make this football club better.

“When I came back into the club I didn’t expect us to be in League One this season so it’s a massive boost we’ve had, but this season has been a real disappointment. We are planning to make the football club better and there are lots of things we should be looking forward to. It’s up to me and the rest of the staff and the board of directors to do everything we possibly can to make sure it is better going forward.”

When asked why Josh Emmanuel and Paul Huntington missed out today, he said: “They were selection decisions. I picked a team to be nice and compact and get higher up the pitch. I didn’t think the two wing backs had bad games, they were rested on Tuesday to bring some freshness to it. It was a case of just going back to them. We had three forward players on to see if we could get some positivity going forward.

“I thought the two midfielders did well and showed good control, especially after they were both booked in the first half. There were some good bits of football, but it’s both boxes where we have to be clinical.

“We can’t get an appointment for Josh Vela with the surgeon until the 26th of this month. We’re not expecting him to be fit this season, so it isn’t as if we’re waiting and thinking he might be fit for Saturday.

“The disappointment with it is that if he is going to need surgery, we’re two weeks behind where we could have been if we could have got in. We’ve got a surgeon that we trust and the club trust, so we’re just waiting for him to go and see him.

Sean Grehan will join the Ireland U21 squad this week ahead of their fixture against San Marino on Friday night: “It’s brilliant experience for him. He’s away for the week which means he’ll be missing for next weekend. Hopefully he goes and does himself justice and gets some minutes.”

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