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Club News


15 March 2013

Manager on tomorrow's match

John Ward knows that his team will have to be mentally prepared for a different test when Rochdale visit the Memorial Stadium tomorrow.


The last three teams to come to the Mem have all been promotion chasing sides, which meant Rovers went into the game as underdogs.


But tomorrow they face a team that many people will expect them to beat.


John said: “We have got to be mentally correct for this game, nothing less than what we have been doing should be accepted tomorrow.


“There are the same things at stake, there are three points if we can win, and we can move up the table. That is what we have got to try and do.


“We will expect a good football match, but a tough one for us, and we want to make it a tough one for them too.


“Keith Hill has been there before, and he fits there. He has a way that he likes to play, he likes to pass and play, and he has done very well there.”


And as part of the preparation for the game, the players were given two days off after victory against Port Vale on Tuesday night.


“They have worked exceptionally hard and I gave them a breather, but make no mistake the reason they are having a breather is to make sure they are ready to play on Saturday and give it their best shot.


“I am not going soft on them, and they will find that out today when we start getting our preparation right.


“We have still got games to play, a lot of things to fight for and a lot of good supporters to represent.”


The manager will be without Oli Norburn, who picked up an ankle injury in that game, but he will be boosted by the return of Mark McChrystal.


“Oli Norburn will not be right for tomorrow and at this stage we will be pushing it to have him ready for Bradford next week, so that is quite unpleasant.


“We seem to be paying a price of a player a game at the moment, which is something that depletes the squad, but maybe at the same time it strengthens the resolve of the rest of the guys.


“We had two young guys making early representations at first team level coming on as subs, so everyone who is available is pulling in the same direction.


“Joe Anyinsah and Fabian Broghammer are slowly coming on but will not be ready for tomorrow.


“Mark McChrystal should be available, we protected him this week with his ankle injury and he will train again today.


“And obviously Clayton McDonald is available, we had a gentleman’s agreement with Port Vale that we wouldn’t use him on the night.”


And looking back to Tuesday, the manager was pleased that his team’s two goals came from set pieces. He said: “It was a massive amount of hard work against a good team.


“They took us a little bit by surprise the way they played, so we had to adjust to that, but the pleasing thing was that we got two goals of set plays.


“In a tight game it can make such a difference if you can get your free kicks and corners right, and we finished off the goals and win the game by doing that.


“It seems that the Memorial Stadium is becoming a bit of a fortress. Top teams have come here, and the mood has been good both on and off the pitch.”


For the full interview visit Gas Player

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