Manager on Chesterfiedl
John Ward is hoping that football can throw up a surprise when Chesterfield visit the Memorial Stadium tomorrow.
Although Chesterfield will probably be viewed as favourites for the game, the manager is hoping his side will be able to perform well with the pressure off.
He said: “People will probably look at the fixture and say ‘there is a win there for Chesterfield.’
“But football is not like that, football throws up strange anomalies and strange results every now and again, so it is a game to look forward to.
“They have a very experienced group of senior players, and they are only two points off the top of the table, and yet they have had four of five games where they have not been able to win themselves.
“This is our home ground, and even with ten men last weekend, we gave a top ten team a tough afternoon, so we are capable of doing that, and that is something I will be pushing in to the team.
“If you like the pressure is off, as the expectancy is probably with the opposition rather than ourselves.”
The manager believes that his young team need to learn to be mentally tough, to help get them through this challenging time.
He said: “Those guys should never stop learning, but they have improved, and they are now in a situation, for the first time in their careers, where they are having a tough time, and it is now for those young fellows to deal with that.
“They need myself and the coaching staff to back them up and work to help them improve.
“I have got to help them on the training pitch, and on that playing pitch on Saturday to try and get through this.
“When they do, they will be all the better for it, but we don’t want it to go on too much longer.
“You are not asking people to do something they have not done before. We have all got to deal with it.
“This group of players is not a new group to each other. They have done this before, when we bounced back in a strong way, and that is exactly what we have to do again.”
And the manager had words of praise for the supporters, who have continued to get behind the team during this difficult period.
He said: “The supporters have been terrific, the last home game against Wycombe they were fantastic when they knew we were up against it with ten men.
“They stood with us and stayed strong with the team. We have got to stay at it and work through it, and we will then start to push things on.
“It is a big learning curve, and it is tough for some but we get it through.”
And it will be the same group of players available for tomorrow’s game.
He said: “I don’t think Matt Harrold is going to make it this weekend. But if we get him out moving on the grass, which is what we are trying to do with him, it will continue to improve.
“Lee Brown tried to get fit for last Saturday, but once he started extending it, the hamstring strain kicked in.
“He is going to come out today and try and start building that up, but Saturday will be too soon.”
For the full interview, visit Gas Player.