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MANAGER: We have to make sure we finish on a positive note

22 March 2024


MANAGER: We have to make sure we finish on a positive note

22 March 2024

We spoke to manager Paul Simpson ahead of tomorrow’s game against Stevenage.

“Training has gone well but most weeks we’re saying training has gone well,” he admitted. “It’s not about training well then not performing on a Saturday, it’s about performing. I would much rather we were absolutely hopeless in training during the week then we went and performed on a Saturday.

“That’s the challenge we’ve got between now and the end of the season. We’ve got eight games left and we have to make sure we finish on a positive note. There haven’t been many positives this season. Recently we’ve had some slightly better performances in periods of games, but we have to finish the season on a high and make sure we go and get some results.

“It would be great to start that this weekend in front of a really good home crowd. We need to start giving our home supporters something better to take away with them and hopefully we’ll get that this weekend.

“The target is always to win the next one and that’s what we’re trying to do. We know the situation we’re in and we know it’s looking really, really dire. For me, everybody has written us off and thinks we’re down anyway, so just play with some freedom and show what you’re really about.

“I don’t think we’ve done that, I don’t think the players have been able to show what they’re really like and play with that freedom. That’s what we want, so the challenge is to win the next game.

"We wanted that at Shrewsbury and although we had lots of possession and dominated those stats, that counts for nothing for me, I just want to try and win games of football. I want us to show a better side of us than we have been doing, and that’s what we’ve got to do come Saturday.”

“Stevenage have had a bit of a dodgy run over the last few weeks but they’ve had some tough games. We know what to expect from a Stevenage side, we know they’ll want to swarm all over us and make it as difficult as possible.

“They are doing this season what we really hoped we were going to do, but we’ve fallen way short of them. If I’m honest, I think there was a big gulf between the two sides last season as well. They showed by gaining automatic promotion that they were ahead of us, so we’re expecting it to be another tough game. I’m also expecting our players to relish the challenge and go and stand up to show our home supporters what we can really do.

“Reid and Piergianni are both missing and they’ve both been big players for them this season, but they’ve got other players who can come in. Vancooten has come in and done really well and they’ve got other strikers who can come into the team. We still expect it to be very similar to it was in the last game, but it’s about us.

“I keep saying it but it really is about us. We know we haven’t done enough this season, the league table and the goals for and against reflect that, but we can’t change that now. The only thing we can affect is the last eight games, the first one is Stevenage and I really hope the players are in the right state of mind to be able to go and put on a performance.”

“Georgie is doing really well,” he continued. “We’re really pleased with how he’s getting on. We’re thinking the Monday of the Easter weekend might be when he’s able to be involved in the squad again. We’ll see how his training goes, we’re managing the workload and he’s looking strong and feeling good about it. We’ll wait and see, we had hoped he would be fit earlier so we’ve just got to manage him properly and hope he’s available very soon. If he is, then let’s see what he’s all about. 

“As for JJ, we’ve still not seen him yet. He decided he needed another week to get confidence in his calf, so he’s stayed at Rotherham. He’s their player so we’re governed by them unfortunately. We’re hopefully going to get some news about him before next week, and with a bit of luck he’ll be coming back into us.

“JJ’s has been a really frustrating one for him and for us. We really pushed the boat out to get him in towards the end of the summer window and we’ve had him for part of a game at Accrington and part of a game at Stevenage. That’s been a real frustration because it’s been one of a few areas where we’ve fell short this season. Hopefully we can get him and Georgie available and see where we go from there.”

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