Kevin Blackwell reflects on his first six weeks and looks forward to Saturdays game
“The lads have had their rest with a couple of days off this week, but have come back refreshed. They have worked hard in training on Wednesday and Thursday, they knew that if they did have a few days off that I would expect a hard return and I’ve had that, they have done it so I am pleased with them.
The lads are getting used to my methods now, and it’s noticeable in the games that they do look very strong and very fit. We are causing teams problems now with our fitness. It’s never been mind numbing running, it’s all been short sharp stuff and all game related.
It’s no use asking a defender to run 60 or 70 yards because that’s never going to happen, its one on ones and two v two’s and that sort of defending that they have had to do, it’s about dealing with the runs that will re-occur in games.
Results suggest that we are improving. When you are winning games, if you don’t buy into it then you have a problem. The lads are buying into it; they are looking forward to games and even looking forward to coming in to train every day. There is a real buzz about the place. We are four or five points of the middle of the table and if that’s not a big incentive now then I don’t know what is.
We have our nose around the corner, that’s still where we are. I’ve been here six weeks now and I am still learning about the players, all their little idiosyncrasies’ and they are still learning about me. Its very early days still but the signs are positive and I have to make sure that it remains that way.
We have one or two little niggles, we haven’t seen David Healy back from Northern Ireland yet but I would have thought that he will be buoyant after scoring the goal for them the other night, but we will go down to Colchester with a squad that is fit and raring to go.
Those that are in the squad have to fight their way back into it, surely that’s what football is all about. It’s about maintaining and retaining your shirt, and the competition must be that when you look over your shoulder, you know that if you’re not on your game, then you will be in trouble. That’s the sort of competition that I want to try and create here.
The bench wasn’t strong enough when I came here, it couldn’t affect whoever was on the pitch. I want it to affect those on the pitch. I want them to look over and think that if I am not on my game, he can come on and take my place – and keep it.
It will take a bit of time to get it as strong as I would like it. Unfortunately we have six loan players and I will have to leave somebody out. We will have to look at the Colchester game and decide which one it will be, which is a frustration for me.
There is no further movement on keeping Dominic Poleon and Zac Thompson, we’ve made contact and we have to wait and see what happens now. I am hopeful that we get a positive response. You tend to live with your heart in your mouth when you take loan players in, because if anything goes wrong at the parent club then you know that they are on a 24 hour recall and you can lose them. All the work that you do with team building and preparation can be thrown out of the window at the last minute.
I know that we are going to have build this team two or three times this season, so once again this week all the staff and the scouts have been out looking at players that can fill holes. We are looking at players that can do the job, not just looking at any old player. We are trying to be one step ahead of the game so if something happens; we have like for like alternatives that can come in. The problem then is that if we are looking at a player, other clubs are looking at the same player.
Watch the full video interview with the gaffer on Shakers Player