Kevin Blackwell reflects on a good week to be a ShakerKevin Blackwell spoke to Shakers Player on Thursday and gave us his reaction the first full week of the season, the Capital One Cup Second Round draw and looks forward to Saturday’s first away game of the season at the Kassam Stadium.
’Norwich away – it’s a premier league side and away from home. When you’re in the draw at this stage, you want a premier league club and we’ve got Norwich City. It’s a great club, well supported and it will be a good trip for us. I know the club had a good result against them in 2008 and it would be nice to have a similar result at the end of the month. We cannot get carried away with it, so we’ll put the Norwich game to bed for now and concentrate on Oxford for Saturday. We will deal with it one game at a time. For us as a club, it was always important that we got through to the next round and then what will be - will be.
We are a week into the season now and we are starting to see things take shape, we still need to improve and we know that. I keep harping on about this, but it’s still patience that we need from everybody, we’ve shown some really good signs on Tuesday, and after a fairly strong performance on Saturday. As we move on, people are starting to see some of the players getting a little bit more confident around the place. I still think there is more to come from this team.
We had a good performance against Chesterfield. Three to four weeks ago, we didn’t have that team so we have to put it all in context. Chesterfield were delighted to get on the bus with the points. They knew that it could have been over at half time, their local press say the same, the good thing this week and against Crewe is that when we took the lead, we controlled the game and that more than anything was what I was pleased with.
On Saturday, Chesterfield said they couldn’t get near us in that first half, and that’s a credit to the players. Their first goal, which was against the run of play, mentally knocked us – we could see that. I didn’t know how they were going to respond when we went a goal down, and then losing the game, how would they respond in the next game. I am learning as much as I can about them – both on and off the pitch.
Even though we lost the game, and had chances in the second half, the atmosphere in Gigg Lane was fantastic. Ironically it looked like we were just about to equalise when they broke and got their second goal. The atmosphere and support from the fans has been phenomenal, even on Tuesday night and it was also a good game, a really good advert for football. Those that were at the game were thoroughly entertained – which ultimately is what we want to do.
On Tuesday night we saw the right reaction to going a goal down. When they scored on Saturday there was still 46 minutes left. I was impressed with their enthusiasm to try and do well for the crowd and for the chairman because all of the players have been really impressed with what they have seen here. They started to go a little bit gung-ho, Craig Jones was going too wide – he had to be a little bit narrower and we didn’t need to go chasing the game. On Tuesday we didn’t chase it, we started slowly and then we woke up and controlled the game.
We are expecting a tough game on Saturday; every game is a tough game. It doesn’t matter what league you are in. Oxford got off to a flyer last weekend against Portsmouth, scored good goals and looked well, they were organised, physically strong, they have good experience in their side and we know it will be tough, but we go there buoyed after a good win against Crewe and after a good solid performance against Chesterfield. We will go there and I want to see us focussed, organised and doing the game plan that we have to deal with them.’
Watch a snippet of the video interview
with the gaffer on our YouTube channel,
or watch the full video over on Shakers Player