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Interviews

Pre Fleetwood | Matt Taylor

24 August 2023

Interviews

Pre Fleetwood | Matt Taylor

24 August 2023

Matt Taylor chatted to the press ahead of our League One clash at Fleetwood - with the boss revealing we are closing in on the signing of a striker.

Town travel to Highbury Stadium on Saturday where they will take on Scott Brown's side.

Speaking to the assembled media, Matt gave an update on new additions ahead of transfer window closing next week.

The boss also discusssed the overall balance of his squad as well as how he and his coaches are working to make sure we turn more chances into goals.

ON POTENTIAL ADDITIONS: 

“We are hopeful in the next 24 hours a striker will be announced. 

“As with a lot of things this transfer window, everything seems to be taking its time. 

“We have waited a long time for this player and I’m as confident as you can be – without the contract being signed – that come Saturday he will be involved. 

“But as we stand here at the moment, we are still in the hands of the lawyers and what-have-you. 

“But when we get to Saturday, I expect us to have Max (Mata) in the squad and I’d expect us to have another (addition) which I think we need. 

“We need to add some real competition and depth in the centre-forward area. 

“I feel Dan (Udoh) and Ryan (Bowman) at times haven’t been able to be taken out and given a rest. 

“This gives us good competition in those areas.

"When I look at someone like Max, Max has worked extremely hard in the time he’s been here. 

“It’s just unfortunate he picked up the injury he did but he will train tomorrow with a view to being involved. 

“Hopefully on Saturday, we will be in a position where we can manage the minutes of the players at the top of the pitch. 

“If you look at where we’ve been with Aiden (O’Brien) and Tom (Bloxham) having left us (on loan), we need that competition at the top of the pitch. Hopefully, on Saturday it will all come to fruition.” 

ON THE SQUAD DEPTH ELSEWHERE: 

“Elliot Thorpe has got injured. He is not going to be back until the middle of October which is a real blow for us. 

“As a group of staff we were really pleased with what we were seeing from him on the training pitch.

"But he sustained a back injury which unfortunately is going to keep him out for a period of time. 

“We have had good dialogue with Luton, good conversations with them. He’s going to come back to us for his rehabilitation which we are pleased with. 

“We expect him to fit by the middle of October. 

“Elliott Bennett has come in. He had his appendix removed – he’s not been 100 per cent so we’ve had to play Carl (Winchester) at right wing-back. 

“I think Carl has played really well there but it’s taken him away from where we saw him playing at the beginning of the season when he signed – in the middle of midfield. 

“But his adaptability has been massive for us. 

“In terms of the area of the pitch we want to strengthen – if there is another addition – I'm not really to sure. 

“Of course every head coach, every manager, wants attacking players. But where we are fortunate with the squad is that we have good balance. 

“As it stands we have 19 senior players in the building. One of those is George Nurse who is unfortunately out for the season due to rupturing his ACL. 

“He has had an operation. That is one down and Elliot Thorpe is two. 

“Behind that we have four development players in Travis (Hernes), Harvey (Watts), Jason (Sraha) and Tunmise (Sobowale) and then we have four first year pros. 

“We are happy with the balance. Would I like to have more? Of course I would. 

"But one thing I will say is the conversations I’ve had with the chairman have been really good. 

“And what he has said is if there is a player out there then there is money available and I have to thank him for that. 

“Are we saying we will find that player? I don’t know.  

"But what I will say is if a player comes up who we feel will impact the starting XI – then of course we will do all we can as a football club to make sure we can bring them in. 

“The chairman has gone above and beyond. He said to us very recently if we find something we might like or will benefit the football club then he will back us 100 per cent.” 

ON THE IDEAL SQUAD NUMBER: 

“I think you have to remember every squad is different. 

“And we don’t know how the development players will progress this season. 

“If you look at Travis – Travis has surprised us because he’s gone above and beyond. 

“He started the game at Leeds and he is a player who we feel will have an impact this season as with Jason as with Tunmise and Harvey. 

“You have got a group of players with the first year pros just benenth them and we are hoping they are going to be on that same path as well. 

“But it’s very difficult with young players at times because it can be sporadic. 

“I was one of them, I understand that it’s difficult. So from my perspective, in terms of a specific number it would be remissant of me to stand here and say I want 36 players because that’s not achievable. 

“What we want now is players to come in the building who can affect the starting XI.” 

ON THE WEEK'S TRAINING:

"It's been a tough week.

"All the focus has been towards Fleetwood. From Monday when the players returned, everything we've done, everything we will do tomorrow and everything we've done today and on Tuesday has been about Fleetwood and what the players can expect in and out of possession.

"It's the way it has to be, it's been structured as per usual. We've spent considerable time in the analysis room and in the classroom - I think that's important. 

"We are away tomorrow in a hotel which gives us more contact time with the players again. We're looking forward to that.

"It's been a tough week. Tuesday was a double session whether the players thought it was coming or not, I don't know, but each one of them really committed to it.

"The players have continued to give everything and when they do that, our messages will sink in. It takes a period of time.

"We have a different test on Saturday against a very good team with a good young manager who had a good season last year. 

"It's going to be another tough game for us. I'm sure it'll be one in which they feel they can get three points and I just feel like, especially coming off the disappointment of Saturday and losing the game in the way that we did, we need the players to respond and that's what we've been asking for all week and that's what we hope we get at the weekend."

ON HOW TRAINING CAN HELP PLAYERS CONVERT CHANCES:

"I think in training the one thing that you do is practice repetitive movements and you put them in positions where they have to recreate those finishes that you hope will come at the weekend.

"It's tough to create that real pressure that comes with a matchday.

"We had a split session on Tuesday. The defenders were with me and the attackers were with Marcus (Bignot) and Pash (Sean Parrish). They worked a lot around areas of the pitch where we feel we can still develop players.

"We create lots of chances, it's now about putting the gloss on top of it. 

"I think if we do that you'll see us pick up positive results.

"Albeit the goal was disappointing and avoidable at the weekend, it should have been similar to the Burton game where even if we concede towards the end, we'd already taken our chances. I think that was the main difference in the games against Burton and Lincoln.

"But in saying that, the players are all in good spirits and they've worked really hard.

"For us as coaches, it's not just about developing them (the players) on the pitch, but it's to help them understand why we play in the areas that we do and the benefits of that to both them and the team."

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