On the international break:
We’ve managed to get a bit of work into players that needed it, a few players have been carrying a few injuries as well, so we’ve had opportunity to get them a bit of rest. Seven or eight players have been away on international duty, all of them have reported back in a good state.
Duncan Watmore got another 45 minutes and Paddy McNair made a successful return. Paddy’s going to take a bit longer given the amount of time he’s been out but he’s managed to score on his return, which is brilliant. Maja has returned back to training and Lewis Grabban isn’t far away as well, so some of the players we’re getting back can have an impact on the squad.
Who will feature against QPR?
Who knows? I’m not one for giving my team away. But we’re getting players close, if they’re not their this weekend then they’ll be coming back in next weekend for Brentford. Paddy (McNair) will play again for the U23s at Arsenal on Monday but overall, it’s nice to have a few players available and coming back into the squad.
It only takes a couple of wins to get you back up the table and it only takes a couple of defeats for a team to be in the bottom three so we’re not too bothered about what other teams are doing, we need to start winning games. Obviously, we’ve been disappointed with the results over the last month, performances haven’t been too bad, we’ve been close in every game and made mistakes where we’ve been punished. Ultimately, we have to make sure we do what’s required to win games, starting with a tough game on Saturday.
On playing in the Championship:
(The Championship) Is so tight, anybody can beat anybody. Even in the Ipswich game, we were well and truly in that game until a couple of mistakes took the game away from us. At 2-1 the ‘keeper makes a great save and we didn’t take our chances. We’re not taking our chances and other teams are taking theirs, we have to make sure we’re better in both boxes.
The general play and the attitude of the players has been good, they showed good characteristics last time against Preston by suffering disappointment when going 2-1 down then equalising and probably being the dominant team in the latter stages of the game. The players are working hard to turn this around, we all are.
On the returning Duncan Watmore:
It’s a big lift for everybody, most notably for himself, he’s ben out for 10 months, so it’s a massive lift to him to be back. Sometimes when a player steps out onto the training pitch it does give the other lads a lift especially with the quality of Duncan. When he came off the bench against Preston you could see and sense the relief and the positivity that Duncan brings to the players and the fans. Good quality players are missed, and we’ve missed a lot of good quality players over the last few weeks.
On positivity within the squad:
I have to be positive as a manager because if I’m moping around then it doesn’t give a good reflection to the rest of the players and staff. We’re all positive and we all think that we’re not a million miles away from getting some good results and getting up the table. I’ve always tried to create a positive attitude and environment wherever I’ve worked at and it’s no different now. The only difference is that we’re disappointed with the results not going our way but those results can change quickly.
If the group were despondent and moping around then I’d think that this is going to take time to turn around, but the way that they are on a daily basis gives me great hope about what we’re going to achieve in the next few games and months.
It’s going to be a tough game, obviously we know what Ian Holloway is like he’ll be kicking every ball on the touchline, he’ll have his team fired up. Over the last few weeks he’s played a few different systems so we don’t really know what to expect from them but we know they’ll be a team that are hungry and desperate to do well. But we’re prepared and it’s going to be about what we do on Saturday, we’ve got three home games in this month, we need to be positive in our approach and get victories in to give our supporters something to cheer about.
The supporters will play a big part in all of this, they've always been positive at home with a few moans and groans but that happens at teams at the top of the division too. Our supporters have been good and we want to make sure that we give them something to cheer about, we’re all in this together. Win Saturday and it becomes a different environment again for everybody.
On coming back to draw against Preston:
You do look for pivotal moments in games where you think ‘yeah, we’ve got something going’. I don’t see players moping around or not caring, to concede two so quickly could have affected us but we got back on it and really we were the stronger team in the latter stages which is a good characteristic to have. let’s make sure that we take all those qualities from the Preston game into the next game on Saturday and the one beyond it.
That’s all from the gaffer - we’re all hoping that the team can build on that spirited performance against a tricky Preston side and finally give us that home win!
We don’t half deserve it...