Kevin Blackwell reflects on Tuesdays win and looks forward to Saturdays game with Bournemouth
‘Tuesday was a very good performance and it’s nice to get a lot of praise from the pundits about how we played and what people were seeing, but now we just have to keep it going. Hopefully it’s the start of something good.
When you win games like that, people tend to recover quickly, but the weather here is so wet, the pitches are heavy and wet, you have to be careful with the lads with regards to how hard you push them. I’ve been pushing these lads for six weeks now and I think they are all feeling the benefit of the fitness now, so now I have to be smart, they have to be fit, but I don’t want to kill them.
It’s not brain numbing running, it’s all football related stuff and there is no doubt that four or five of them have really benefitted from the sessions that we have put on. People have said that we look sharper and fitter than the opposition, then that’s pleasing. We look fitter and sharper for longer. In the last ten minutes on Tuesday, we had one or two really good chances. The last ten minutes is when you win or lose games, it’s down to fitness and the mind becomes stronger with the confidence.
Joe Skarz made a match winning tackle towards the end, that’s the sort of tackle you want, he went in to make the challenge and got hurt doing it. I’ll be honest, I still think there is another 15 to 20 percent to come from Joe Skarz, I don’t think he is anywhere near to where I think he can be. I want more from him on and off the ball, as I do from all of them.
We might be in the top three of four of the form table, but I want us to remain there. Joe took a real battering, but you have to put your body on the line. It’s like the good old days, if you want to win games, you have to go to the well and ask for courage, commitment, craft and sometimes you have to put your body on the line, and Joe did on Tuesday night.
With Dominic (Poleon) having to go back to Leeds, I am aware that we need to be able to open people up. We’ve already noticed that teams coming to us or play against us are going to park the bus, so we have to be able to open them up. For example we played Portsmouth last week and their two full backs are notorious for going forward. Neither of them once went forward, so I need something to open up the door and Gregg Wylde has got some pace, decent quality and he has adjusted to life and pace of life down in England now after leaving Rangers.
He’s not been involved with Bolton as much as he would have like to have been, but I am thankful to Dougie Freedman and Lennie Laurence for allowing us to bring him here. He will play in a lot of games. We have ten games in the next six weeks, so there will be plenty of time for him to play. He is an exciting player, a winger with pace, he can put good crosses into the box. We only have 21 outfield players, two on four bookings and three injured.
I just want to make sure that we can keep the momentum going. I don’t want to see it falter because of a lack of numbers of quality. That would be a crime and I am trying to guard against that. I know finances are tight and we cannot just go out and pick and choose. Bolton have been terrific and they have helped us with wages. The chairman and the directors have been great, they have dug deep to try and help us with this. After Thursday, we have no opportunity to sign anyone until 03 January. We have ten massive rules between then and now.
Marcus Marshall has extended at Grimsby until 05 January; we have a 24 hour recall on the deal so if anything happens we can haul him back. They are top of the league and he is getting games in. He’s in a winning team and it makes it very much easier to bring a player in from a winning team.
Saturday is fifth v first in the form tables, if this had been the start of the season both Bournemouth and ourselves would be 1st and 2nd. We need to be hitting championship winning form, to get out of this, and both sides are in that at the moment and we need to stay in there a little bit longer to give us a platform to move away and keep away from the bottom of the table. I think we can beat anybody, that’s what I want to do. We are 14 points off the play offs, we are only still in the bottom four on goal difference.’
Watch the full video interview on Shakers Player