Kevin Blackwell looks back on last weeks game and forward to the Southend United game
“The frustration from the weekend has all gone now, the frustration came from being in a great position to win the game and it was just unfortunate that we let it slip, but if you go back to the six or seven weeks to when I first came here, and how we were then. Bournemouth were the best team that we have seen here in a long while, they had nearly £1.5m worth of talent on the bench and we had beaten ourselves up because we didn't win the game.
The frustration had gone by Monday, but it does frustrate me when I look at the league table, but you have to be realistic. If we have so many lads under the age of 21 playing, they are going to make mistakes. I can accept that, but to be in the position where we are winning with three minutes to go against one of the best teams, or the best team in the division, is a great statement to be able to make.
I’ve not had to pick the lads up; we talked about it during training on Thursday. I spoke to Eddie Howe after the game and he said that no team had done that to them this season. I thought our first half display was first class and for me, the first goal was a champagne goal on top of a champagne performance. We knew that they had to do something in the second half, and we knew that with all their talent on the bench – that they had bought that week, but when we looked back at the stats for the second half we had a surprise. I thought they had shaded the second half, but they actually didn’t with 53% possession.
We were never under the cosh apart form a little spell; Trevor made two saves in the game. For Bournemouth to come here and Trevor only making two saves speaks volumes. We have taken a lot of positives’ from that game and the lads know that they can beat anyone. We have to believe that we are good enough to be on the park with anybody else.
We have a reputation now of being a well organised team, a hard working team, has lots of endeavour and a team that will make mistakes, but we are fit and we will keep going to the very end.
Having a confident squad makes the job easier; any manager will tell you that. Training is more enjoyable, playing is more enjoyable, results are more enjoyable. When I came here, we were losing every week, it wasn’t a nice place to be, everyone was down but now people cannot wait to get into work – that’s a good thing.
The weather isn’t helping, if it’s not throwing it down, its sub-zero – welcome to the North West. We’ve trained on the astro turf at Salford this week, today we had a strip about 40 x 40 to train on but they have put a good shift in again.
Its touch and go with Steven Schumacher as to whether he will be available for Saturday. David Healy & Andy Bishop are closer but we will wait and see.
The FA Cup at this stage is massive; the financial rewards for a club like this could keep us going for twelve months or longer. I am aware of what it means to us. In this case, the financial rewards are more important than the benefit it can have to the profile of the club. Football in the lower leagues is getting tougher and tougher, we need a good cup run and that is what we are looking to do.
Like last weekend, this is another game between two good teams in form, but let’s hopes we can finish it with a win. Southend are going really well in League Two. Paul Sturrock is a canny manager, he always put teams together that are hard to beat and we know that it will be a tough test. It’s the FA Cup, take away league positions, form – anything can happen. That’s the beauty of the FA Cup.
The last thing we want is a replay, and Paul Sturrock will be thinking the same. With so many games over Christmas, we don’t want to be adding another one to the list so hopefully we can get the job done at the first attempt and I know that Paul is thinking the same.”
Watch the full video interview with the gaffer on Shakers Player