Kevin Blackwell on a week’s training, confidence, Crawley and clearing one or two things up
“Two weeks in, but I am a long way from where I want to be with everything. The lads have suffered – not through their own fault – but with the uncertainty, they’ve missed elements of their fitness needs and just really some co-ordination. It’s been difficult for them because there was no clear path of what was happening. Now that’s happened, they know what’s happening and they will catch up. They have been absolutely superb, their work on the training ground is absolutely first class, and I have absolutely no qualms whatsoever with what they are doing. Now it’s about taking it from the training ground, and having the courage and the confidence to take it out onto the pitch.
I always think that when a ship is rudderless, it can go anywhere. It doesn’t matter what sport it is, you need to know what’s happening, who’s going where, what are we doing. That leadership is absolutely vital and to be fair to the players, they have missed that and it has affected them.
There is nothing that is major that has surprised me in the first two weeks, but having come back to the club I am a little bit disappointed about the lack of support for the players in terms of the fitness element, the sports scientist and the use of IT. For me, that should be there anyway. It’s disappointed me to come in and not find it there. They are elements that give us an extra little bit of a chance. We can’t compete with teams in this division financially so we have to be smarter off the pitch, that’s an element that we have to look at.
The lads have got a lot more stuff now that will hopefully help them with the new IT package that we’ve brought in, the new goalkeeping coach. It will help and improve us. We are still disappointed to have lost to Swindon and a Mickey Mouse goal, but we still have a long long way to go. Everything that I am looking for is going to take a long time to get right.
The last time I was here, we were a championship club; the players were of a higher level, there was more support for the players and the club was in a better state financially, but maybe not when you think that Mr Eaves was involved at the time. Other than that, it’s just the same – but maybe that’s the problem, it’s not moved forward in the way it should have done.
I talked on Tuesday about confidence amongst the players; you can only improve confidence by winning games. If they can see things happening that are good, then the belief and the confidence comes from that. At the moment, if it can go wrong, it will go wrong. If you look at the goal against Swindon – if we had been top of the table, then it would have been us scoring that goal. When you’re at the bottom, if it can go wrong, it will go wrong. We have to anticipate things that are going to go wrong and try to guard against it.
I’ve looked at the Rochdale goal on Tuesday night. Everyone has worked their socks off to get behind the ball, but nobody has pressured it. We’ve got six players behind the ball, there’s only two in advance of it – so that means that four players are showing the willing to get there, but not the brightness and the nouse to know what to do once they have got there. Now it’s about adding that bit to it, but the lads have shown a willing to want to learn.
Two or three weeks ago, we’d have lost three or four nil against Swindon, and I think we would have lost against Rochdale but we have shown a much steelier resolve. You have to start to win games by grinding out results and at the moment we are in that grinding out period, before we can go onto that redevelopment side. We have to be strong, organised, we have to work harder than everyone else and we have to make sure that we turn it around, that’s how you do it. Its hard work and endeavour. Hopefully in time, we can start to build things and move on.
You can see it coming, but it will take how long it takes to happen. The key performance indicator for me is that when the performances are getting better, the results will come. Results are always about performance. If the performances are good then your results will be good.
Our performances have not been good and the results have reflected that, so we have to turn that performance around, that belief and hard work and a real ethic within the club. I want that ethic - that discipline back, I want the organisation back and then if we turn that around, we can start to build on from there. It’s going to take time. It’s not going to happen in the 14 days – the time I have been here, this is a long term project for me to turn it around. Everyone can recognise that and to be fair to the payers, they know that as well. I think the lads have started to show that if they are going to be a Bury FC player, that when you put that shirt on, the first requirement is that you give everything you have got. They might not be the most skilful, they might not have the best ability, but you sweat blood for that shirt.
The first half on Tuesday night wasn’t very good. It was shear fear, you could smell the fear in them, but we had words at half time and they came out and responded. They did the things that we asked them to and we were the better team in the second half, we really should have gone on and won it in normal time. If you concede a goal, then that’s all you concede, because you are always in the game. Even against Swindon, we were always in the game and had chances to get something out of it. I’ve looked at the first three games and we have always been in the game, we need to be there around the 80th or 90th minute and I am pleased to say that we have been there. I want to see more of that, that we are always in the game; I don’t want to see games gone after 30 or 40 minutes.
We’ve got one or two kicks and bruises from Tuesday, but nothing serious. Trevor Carson got a right kicking, but he should be fine for Saturday. Lenny is out for two months, I can’t see anything less than two months. With the greatest respect to him, we have put him to one side; he is not involved and is of no value to us at the moment. I have to worry about the ones that are fit.
The trialist’s played in the reserve game on Tuesday, I’ve seen what I wanted plus I didn’t see what I wanted either. Some of them have come and gone. That’s what it’s about now. At this stage of the season, players that are available on a free – are free for a reason. It’s like sifting for gold; it’s not the ideal scenario. We shouldn’t be scouting round like this, but there is no depth in the squad whatsoever. We literally travel to games with every fit player, that’s it. I can’t change things from the bench, but when the bench is how I want it, we will be good. It’s not as strong as I want it at the moment.
Crawley have had a terrific couple of seasons, there is no doubt that they have done well financially and they have an ambitious owner. It will be a tough game, they are there on merit but we have to go there and be smart and get the result that we want. We cannot worry about Crawley and who they are. We are Bury FC and when we park our bus outside somebodies ground, we are coming there for a reason, and it’s not to get beat. The fact that it’s Richie Barker doesn’t make it any different to me. I don’t know Richie, good luck to him though, he’s moved on. This is my job, my club and I have to make sure that we win as many games as we can.
I have to clarify one thing from when I said the signings have been garbage. It’s not the signings that are garbage; we’ve been left with one left back, one right back, one wide left and one wide right. Its garbage that you haven’t thought about putting a balanced squad together. That’s the garbage! I can’t understand why we have had to go and get Matt Doherty form Wolves to try and give us some strength at right back. Andrai Jones is a young kid that is learning the game, now we can take the pressure of him a little bit. It gives us some cover at right back, plus Matt can play centre half as well. We have to think of how we can balance the squad. What we can’t do is leave gaping big holes in the team.
We looked at it last week, Andy Bishop out on loan. Shaun Harrad out on loan – we’ve got no striker. The garbage thing for me is that somebody thought this was the way to do it, so we are left with no strikers. No target men, my word – is it any wonder we couldn’t win a game.”
Watch the full video interview with Kevin Blackwell on Shakers Player