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Interviews

Matt Taylor pre Wycombe

8 December 2023

Interviews

Matt Taylor pre Wycombe

8 December 2023

Boss Matt Taylor chatted to the media ahead of our League One clash at Wycombe.

Town travel to Adams Park tomorrow having drawn at Exeter and won at Notts County in our last two away games.

Speaking to the assembled media, Matt discussed the last seven days and giving the players last weekend off following the win at Meadow Lane.

The boss also gave injury updates on Morgan Feeney, Taylor Perry and Jason Sraha.

And he gave his thoughts on the the upcoming FA Cup tie against Wrexham.

On the run that saw us play Port Vale, Exeter and Notts County in six days:

“We gave the players a few days off. I just felt it was a reward they deserved based on their monumental efforts last week. 

“To play three games in six days is never easy even when you’ve got a full squad so for our players to do that with 11 injuries – and to come through it with such positivity – the players needed some time to switch off. 

“I think as well because we all work so hard here, we all spend so much time together, it was probably good for everyone to get away and have some family time. 

“The players all came back in and have all been really good in gearing up for a big game at the weekend. 

“It’s been quite nice having opportunities to get on the grass with the players because we hadn’t had that chance to train. 

“And I know speaking to a lot of other coaches and a lot of other managers that they have felt the same. 

“The cycle is so relentless. It’s just been game after game. So for us to get some really good work in at the training ground has been of paramount importance.” 

On achieving those positive results despite the injuries: 

“(The players) live their lives right. They are really professional. We have a group that drives itself from within. 

“Now a lot of that is because of the senior players we have here. But also because the younger ones understand that to be successful in this game you have to be really professional. 

“I have never once had an issue – or a concern - with players not doing the right thing when they are not here. 

“We have got a really disciplined group. You have seen that over the last 10 days because of the amount of football we’ve asked them to play. 

“They are in a good spot at the moment. It's my job, the coaches, and the rest of the staff to keep them in that position because we know while we had a good week last week, we also know there is a massive game coming up on Saturday that we have to be ready for.” 

On Elliott Bennett playing against Notts County despite being injured: 

“I think, first and foremost, that shows you just how much character and how much of a team player Elliott is. 

“I saw at Exeter the cut and how deep it was so I was astounded that he put himself up for selection on the Friday. 

“That is a testament to him as a man. But also he understands how important he is to the group. Not just on the pitch but also in everything he does off of it. 

“He does a huge amount for the football in the community which is fantastic. He doesn’t need to do that, he wants to do it. 

“He is a big part of this football club and the connection the players have with the supporters. 

“I didn’t ask Elliott if he was fit. I didn’t put any pressure on him. But his response to me was that he was desperate to be involved regardless of the eight stitches. 

“He put his boot on on Thursday and showed me and told me it would be alright and then on Friday he went out and performed really well. 

“I would never have questioned him had he said he wasn’t fit because the injury was a really bad one. 

“But with characters like that in the building you have always got an opportunity. 

“And what Elliott has done this when he has played – he has been really consistent. 

“I think that is a testament to him – first of all as a person and then as a footballer.” 

On if any of the injured players will be back for Wycombe: 

“I think so, we might have one or two back in the group.  

"Morgan Feeney has passed all of his tests. He had a really nasty injury with his kidney, one that you could not have forecasted even if you wanted to.  

"He is in a good position at the moment where we feel he might be able to join back in with the group, but that won't be until tomorrow (Friday).  

"Taylor Perry is still a bit tender and he still has a bit of an issue with his hamstring, if we can get Taylor on the grass tomorrow (Friday) I would be surprised.  

"But as it looks at the moment, the group is not as healthy as we would like, but what we do have after Christmas is we should have a flurry of players coming back into the group.” 

On Jason Sraha:  

"Jason is in a difficult position at the moment because it is a longer injury than we first thought it would be, and with him understanding his body it has taken a little bit longer.  

"He has got an issue with his ankle and we are desperately making sure we do the right thing for him while also giving him the best opportunity to be fit as soon as possible.  

"Jason will not be available for this weekend, I am 100 per cent sure of that unfortunately.  

"We are trying to step him up outside, if it does not get to a point in the next seven to 10 days where we feel we can really push him along and get him onto the grass and back in with the group then it will probably mean he will need to and have an appointment with the consultant to try and get to the bottom of the issue that he has. 

“We have had some good news with Tom Flanagan. His injury wasn’t as bad as feared. 

“Tom Bayliss is doing really well. While we’re not in a great position, I firmly believe that in a month to six weeks, a lot of our injured players will be back in with the group. 

“That will make my decision a lot harder when it comes to what team to pick.” 

On Ryan Bowman’s hat-trick against Notts County: 

“Ryan has been really good because it’s been difficult for him. He’s not been in the team recently as much as he would like. 

“While he has always got onto the pitch, he hasn’t started as many games as he wouldn’t liked. 

“But in saying that, in the conversations I’ve had with him, he’s not scored anywhere near enough goals for a player of his calibre. 

“So what I hope now is that he continues in that vain. 

“I’ve read a lot this week – you see a lot of stuff online – and it’s almost as if Ryan was expected to score those opportunities because of the defending. 

“But I think that is a little bit disrespectful if I’m honest because we had a really clear game plan against Notts County and the players worked their socks off to make those opportunities for Ryan. 

“Ryan then had to go and finish them under a lot of pressure because he hadn’t been in that position too often recently. 

“I’m really pleased for him. He has been the ultimate professional in his approach every day here. 

“I commended him on that after the game because it’s never easy when you are not playing as much as you want. 

“I’m pleased for him. Hopefully, now it gives him a platform because Ryan can be devastating at this level of football. 

“The thing for us now is to really use the confidence he has gained from the last week or so and try and turn that into more positive performances from him because you saw on Friday if he gets an opportunity he is move than capable of putting it away.” 

On Wycombe: 

“I think it will be a very tough game. They play in a similar way to we do. 

“They have a very hard-working team. They are organised, structured – they are a clear reflection of Matt (Bloomfield) their manager. 

“I know it will be a tough game. I’ve been and watched them a couple of times now and it’s quite clear to see what they trying to do. 

“They have got some really good players. 

“The challenge will always be for us – when we come up against good teams away from home - we have to replicate performances we have delivered in the last two whether that be away at Exeter or Notts County. 

“That is the challenge for us and that is the challenge for the players.  

“We have delivered a session today based on what we expect from our players both in possession and without. 

“We will box everything off tomorrow (Friday). But they already have a clear idea of what is coming and what is expected from this fixture. 

“It’s going to be a tough game because Wycombe have got a really good, young, manager. They have got some exceptional footballers for the level. 

“And they have already proven this season with their results they are a match for anybody. 

“I’m looking forward to the game. Away from home. We have sold upwards of 300 tickets and that is a testament to our supporters. 

“The best of the game for me on Friday was watching our players celebrate with the fans. I haven’t seen that since I’ve been here. 

“Away from home, to be able to have five, six, seven, minutes with the supporters – and this isn’t me, this is the players, it really cements their bond. We’d love the same on Saturday.” 

On the Wrexham FA Cup game: 

“Wrexham are an extremely talented football team. Obviously, I understand the rivalry with it being a local team to us. 

“It’s going to be a wonderful game. What I’m looking forward to is seeing the stadium rocking. 

“We hope it’s full. We hope there is TV coverage for both sets of players. But again, you only have to look at their squad to see the experience they have. 

“They are a team that I think will be a League One team next season so it’s going to be a really different test. 

“But one I know everyone at Shrewsbury is looking forward. 

“As well as the fact we are playing Wrexham at home, it is also the magic of the FA Cup – and for me, there isn’t a better cup competition in the world.” 

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