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Interviews

Pre Reading | Matt Taylor

9 November 2023

Boss Matt Taylor met with the media ahead of our League One clash with Reading.

Town welcome Ruben Selles' side to the Croud Meadow on Saturday for what will be our third home outing in a week.

Matt's side secured victory over Colchester in the FA Cup last weekend before falling to a harsh defeat to Bolton on Tuesday.

Speaking to the assembled media, the boss gave an update on goalkeeper Marko Marosi who was forced off against Bolton with a back injury.

The boss also discussed the importance of managing the workload of his players with Morgan Feeney, George Nurse, Brandon Fleming, Ryan Finnigan and Kieran Phillips all currently injured - while Ryan Bowman missed the Bolton game with a minor knock.

On the mood in the camp following Bolton: 

“We reported back in today. We spoke – after the game – about how when we report back for training it’s important we don’t feel sorry for ourselves. 

“The players have trained well and hard today. There are a couple of the lads who needed an extra day off their feet because, physically, they have really exerted themselves over the last couple of games. 

“But today has been a good day. We trained slightly later to give the players a little more time to recover. 

“And they are all ready and raring to go. 

“We will do a lot more tomorrow, technically and tactically and we will prepare as best as we can for what will be another hugely important game for us back at home.” 

On managing the workload of players when there are so many injuries: 

“We have to be careful. Where we are fortunate, the guys in the sports science and medical departments are really good with that – in terms of their detail. 

“There were a couple of players who were off the grass today just because of the amount of work they have done. 

“This is an extremely busy period for us. We’ve got the Walsall game on Tuesday as well so there is a lot of football for the group coming up. 

“Unfortunately, we have got an extensive injury list which we are hoping to start clearing soon. 

“But the players that are fit – we have got to keep them available so the group only goes one way and it gets more competitive when we get players out of the treatment room.” 

On Marko Marosi: 

“He is okay. He didn’t train today so we will make a call on him tomorrow. We’ll see how that looks. 

“I think it was a back spasm. The medical staff have been working with him – he was in yesterday for treatment as were a couple of the other players. It was a tough, physical, game for us on Tuesday night.  

“But at this precise moment in time it’s too early to make a call on Marko. But, like the other players, he will be doing everything he possibly can to be fit.” 

On Harry Burgoyne coming on and doing well versus Bolton: 

“I imagine it’s quite difficult (when you’re a keeper coming off the bench). But he was ready and he made an excellent save with his foot. 

“He couldn’t do anything about the second goal. His distribution was good as well. 

“But he is extremely professional. Harry has been working really hard lately in training. We’ve seen a upturn in his performances in training. 

“That’s what we need. We need competition all over the squad and that is what we have definitely got in the goalkeeping area.” 

On Ryan Bowman not featuring against Bolton: 

“He trained today. Ryan will be back in the group. It was more precautionary. 

“What we can’t do is pick up another long-term injury. It was a case of Ryan not being available for that game but he’ll definitely be available for Saturday.” 

On being extra careful with Ryan because Max Mata is on international duty next week: 

“That is the case but it’s also really important we don’t get ahead of ourselves and that we take each game as it comes. 

“The Reading game is going to be a really tough game. 

“They are a club going through a transitional period at the moment. Their game was stopped the other night because of fan protests. 

“I look at us as a football club and the stability the chairman has given us – especially now with this being our ninth season in the league. 

“It’s really important to have that behind you. And we, as a football club, are really fortunate to have that. 

“It’s going to be a really difficult game. They have got some exceptional players, they have got a lot of youth and a manager who is extremely driven and wants to be successful. 

“What’s going to be important for us is the players understand and they carry out the game plan to a tee. 

“If they do that then we have got a chance of winning any game of football – you saw that on Tuesday night. 

“The players were brilliant out of possession. It was only that moment where the error cost us. Up to that point, especially in the first half, we were really good. 

“We need to do the same again, albeit against a different opposition with a different gameplan. 

“We need to put together a performance to get back to winning ways.” 

On being good out of possession: 

“I think one of our strengths this season has been the way in which the players have taken on information. 

“We talk a lot about the fact we haven’t scored enough goals. I’ve stood up here, owned that, fronted it up and always will do. 

“But we had one training session to work on what we wanted to do against Bolton and the players delivered it – out of possession – to a man, to a tee. 

“You listen to their manager after the game, he was really impressed with us in terms of what we did without the ball. 

“We know that we are good at that. We now need to put that extra layer on top in terms of what we do with the ball. 

“That has been the plan today. It will be the plan tomorrow because while we know there are areas of the game we are good at – we also know there are areas where we can be better. 

“The challenge will always be, can we score more goals? Can we take more opportunities? Can we keep hold of the ball? Can we play the patterns that give us the best opportunity of winning a game of football? 

“The players have shown this season – you look back to Colchester – we can score goals. It’s just now a case of when we get those moments being more consistent and taking them.” 

On why we took our chances against Colchester but not Bolton: 

“It can only come down to pressure. 

“I think as a footballer, you do tend to seize up at times when those opportunities come and things aren’t going as rosy as you would like. 

“But I know we have got goal scorers and I know we have got good players in the building. 

“Now it’s just a case of whoever gets to pull the shirt on at the weekend, they have to go and represent us as they always do and give everything. 

“But we are getting to a point now where we have to start scoring goals. We can’t keep creating opportunities and not scoring because if you don’t score you don’t give yourself an opportunity to win.”

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