Kevin Blackwell reflects on recent performances and looks forward to Rochdale'It was an outstanding performance on Tuesday night at Port Vale. Once again we came away with our opposition’s fans and board saying that they felt as though they owed us an apology. We're not through to the next round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy but we have taken a lot of positives from the game. Once again the way in which we played was outstanding. When being critical and analysing the game you would say that it was the finishing that let us down. The performance from the team has shown that I have some great options as a manager.
The quality of the competition at the club this season is intriguing. We especially have strong competition for our wide positions. Competition has to be fierce in the wide areas as that's where games can be won and lost. If we now lose someone from any of the positions we don't take a step backwards, we keep moving forward because whoever comes in in place is more than capable of holding that position.
As for Brian Jensen coming in, he's a great keeper and a great lad. Unfortunately going into the summer he wasn't signed to a club and he hadn't taken part in a pre-season. Brian was stuck trying to show clubs exactly what he can do, when the other players were all up and running with high fitness levels. We invited Brain to come and train with us so that we could help him work on his fitness and we could see how things developed. His saves throughout the game against Port Vale showed where his fitness and confidence levels are now.
I feel that in some games this season we haven't always had the rub of the green. If we continue playing as we are having not had much luck, then I'd like love to see what happens when a bit more luck comes our way.
Teams are now starting to work us out. We are seeing teams coming here or when we go to them trying to kill the game in playing a system that may give them a foot-hold in the game. Clubs are really starting to take notice of us.
I'm really enjoying watching us at the moment. Some of the football that we've seen in games such as Norwich, Cheltenham and Port Vale you can sit as a fan and thoroughly enjoy. We are good enough to entertain.
We now need to build on the result against Cheltenham this weekend in the local derby against Rochdale. The local derby is the game from which our fans demand a good performance. Anybody that dismisses a local derby as just another game, isn’t in the real world, this game isn't just another game. In a local derby it doesn't matter who is going into the game in the best form or who is higher in the league, it's all on the desire and passion to do well in the game. The team who keep their heads and perform on the day will come out on top. When the players step onto the pitch at Spotland at 3 o'clock on Saturday they will fully understand how important this game is. We now have to go there and perform it's as simple as that!
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