Kevin Blackwell on his first seven days and looking forward to Swindon on Saturday“It’s only been a week, but it’s been terrific and I have really enjoyed it. The players have worked very hard and we are trying at the moment to bring one or two people in, one or two people back and trying to get the players to understand what I am looking for. My feet have hardly touched the ground, but this is why I am back in the game. It’s what I do and I enjoy it. I’d rather be doing this than cutting the grass.
The weather hasn’t helped, the pitches are really heavy but the players have just got on with it. I was very disappointed that Tuesday’s game with Carlisle was called off. I felt that the players were really at it, you can see in training that they were really at it.
We got a great result at Stevenage and we were bitterly disappointed on the bus coming home that we hadn’t won the game and I was bitterly disappointed when the heavens opened on Tuesday. We are ready for it and are looking forward to Saturday.
Apparently we’ve had chances to win games before in the last minutes. This week we have seen one of the greatest ever come backs in the golf and the Ryder Cup. They have to start believing. The Europe team were near enough looking for snookers, they showed some real tenacity, belief and organisation and when it came down to it, grit and determination. Those are the characteristics are the ones we are looking for. From what I have seen so far, I think we have it. We have a decent set of lads and we need to help them by getting some better players in.
If Tuesday’s game had gone ahead, we would only have had 16 players. Losing Picken and John-Lewis with fairly long term injuries cripples the squad when you only have 18 or 19 players. I know that if the players listen and do what I am asking them then we will win more games than we lose.
We’ve lost Lenell (John-Lewis) for a minimum of two months. We don’t know the maximum yet. It’s a knee problem, he had a first scan on Monday but because they couldn’t quite see a problem, they have put dye into his knee and done another scan. We’ve lost him for between six to eight weeks at the moment.
I’ve brought Andy Bishop back from Wrexham, and I think he was quite shocked and surprised at the intensity of training on Thursday. He is back here because he is part of the club. I’ve told him that as far as I am concerned, he has a chance to impress me and do the job that we all know he is capable of. His best years are ahead of him but he has to make this the best years of his career and if we get a fired up Andy Bishop back then he will be a big asset to the football club.
We’ve also signed Matt Doherty from Wolves, he along with Bish gives us more height. At Stevenage on Saturday, they had seven or eight players over six foot three. The mascot was six foot four as well. We only had Hughes, Hopper and Lockwood that were over six foot. In this division you need to deal with balls in the box, this adds another string to our bow and with Bish coming back, it all adds to the pot.
Matt Doherty has the height, he has pace, he’s good on the ball and he likes to get forward. I want the ball moved quickly, I want it passed. We only train with two touches. I know sometimes that the ball will go long, but at this level you have to accept that. On the whole I want them to get on the ball. When we started moving the ball really well at Stevenage, we opened them up two or three times and we dominated the play. They were looking for a result to go top of the table, but they were hanging on against us.
We are still looking to bring in; we have three or four lads on trial with us. They are all available on a free and don’t have clubs. We are talking some decent quality with these. If they shine, then maybe we might be able to nick one or two of them as well to strengthen the squad that way. They are all in their mid-20’s and I am surprised that they haven’t got clubs.
We need some strength and we need some depth. It’s no good trying to compete with the rest if you only have 15 or 16. On Saturday we couldn’t change any wide men, we had no change at full backs – we couldn’t change anything to a degree. I need to look at the bench and say can we win the game form the bench. If we do that we have a chance of winning games.
Swindon are a club with ambition, they know where they want to go. They just have to get there. Results have been a little bit indifferent for them. It will be physichally tough; it’s always like that in this division. It’s hard and Swindon will be no different.”
Watch the full 23 minute video interview with the gaffer on Shakers Player