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Interviews

Pre-Wigan | Matt Taylor

26 October 2023

Interviews

Pre-Wigan | Matt Taylor

26 October 2023

Boss Matt Taylor chatted to the media ahead of our trip to Wigan on Saturday.

Town travel to the DW Stadium for what will be our third game in seven days with last weekend's victory over Derby followed by a midweek defeat at Barnsley.

The result at Oakwell was a particularly tough one to take with some big refereeing calls going against us in the build-up to the Tykes' first two goals.

Speaking to the assembled media, Matt revealed what the players have been working on as we bid to return to winning ways against the Latics.

And the boss also had some positive news on the injury front concerning Jason Sraha, Ryan Finnigan, Elliot Thorpe and Jordan Shipley.

On the mood in the camp: 

“The performance at Barnsley was good. We’ve watched it back, I’ve gone through it with the players this morning. 

“When you look at the details in terms of the amount of possession we had, the chances we created – we picked the wrong options at times in and around the final third – but you can’t legislate for some of the decisions that were made in that game football. 

“You accept it. Barnsley are a good team. Did we get what we wanted? No, we didn’t. 

“I think the three-goal scoreline didn’t reflect the team’s performance so the lads are in good spirits. 

“We have trained hard today. Those that needed a second day of recovery got that. 

“We’ve spent a lot of time today in the analysis room. That’s important - especially when you haven’t got the time on the grass with all of the players because of the number of minutes they have got in their legs. 

“It’s been a good day.” 

On whether a busy run of fixtures helps build consistency: 

“After a win, a loss or a draw, you want to get out and put things right or you want to continue what is going well. 

“Football is relentless. We always knew this period of the season was coming and it’s important now that the players continue to perform. 

“Even though the result wasn’t what we wanted at Barnsley, in terms of performances I think they are getting better. 

“We are not getting maybe the decisions we want. But it’s part and parcel of the game. 

“I was disappointed with the result. But the great thing is we have got an opportunity on Saturday to play against a really good, in-form team, away from home and try and win a game of football. 

“I believe the players in this building are capable of competing with any team in the league. 

“That is what we need to do. We then need to keep doing that and be consistent. 

“The teams that produce performances week on week are those that are consistent both individually and collectively.” 

On having two away games in five days: 

“Where we are geographically means that neither of the games is an overnight trip for us. 

“We are leaving the training ground at 10am on Saturday morning. 

“The players will still get the right time in bed, they will get time to recover. 

“We’ll go to the hotel, we’ll have pre-match and then we’ll go to the stadium – and what a place to play football. 

“I remember playing there myself. It will be a tough test for us because Wigan are coming off the back of two really good results. 

“Shaun (manager Shaun Maloney) is getting his ideas across. I think they are a really good football club. And I’m excited to see our players perform there and the challenge it’s going to cause us.” 

On Wigan: 

“They have got good players, they have got a good squad, Shaun has a clear identity with how he wants his team to play. 

“They are getting to know him better and what he wants. I’m excited. It will be a really good test for us. 

“It’s one in which we have to at least perform to the level we did on Tuesday – if we do that and we keep control of the ball more (we have a good chance). 

“That is an area where we want to keep improving, we want to control games. We want to control games with the ball. 

“I keep talking to the players about can they rest in possession. Rest when we have got the ball. 

“But I’m sure it’s going to be another difficult game in what is a very relentless league.” 

On Jason Sraha coming off at Barnsley and injuries in general: 

"He is OK. I think he will train tomorrow ahead of the game. As I am led to believe he should be fine. What everything else looks like with the players behind that I am not to sure.  

"Jordan Shipley trained today and so did Elliot Thorpe. We are starting to get back to getting players out of the treatment room.  

"We are still well aware that Morgan Feeney won't be available and neither will George Nurse.  

"But it is getting better, Ryan Finnigan has had his operation. He that back in Southampton this week and we are hopeful that in and around Christmas time we can get him back in the group with us. 

“He will do his rehabilitation down there.  

"Kieran Phillips I do not think will be in the squad on Saturday he has picked up an injury.  

"While we are getting one or two players back onto the grass we are still not in a position where we have a full squad to choose from. 

“That is extremely frustrating but it’s part and parcel of this role. You are always going to pick up injuries. 

“I feel the ones we have picked up have been freakish in their nature.  

“They have not been – other than Morgan’s - every injury we have had has been a contact injury. 

“Whether that be here on the training pitch or in games. So they are not really avoidable – you want players to make challenges. You want players to make contact with the opposition. 

“Morgan (Feeney) is the only real muscle injury we have had and that was due to a huge spike in his load.  

“Sometimes you have to take those things into consideration but what I will say is that the medical team here are really good. They are on it. 

“Some players are ahead of schedule to where they should be right now. Others are on schedule. 

“One thing I do know is we have players coming back into contention.” 

On improving our away form: 

“I think when you look at the Cambridge game, we got a performance and a result. 

“At Barnsley, we got a performance not the result. There are external factors to that.  

“It’s a different conversation I am having you now as opposed to six weeks ago. Then we were talking about not creating enough chances and how we were going to fix that. I feel we have done that. 

“But I still feel now that the chances we are creating are good ones – we have not got to be more ruthless in those big moments in games. 

“At 2-0 on Tuesday we had a wonderful chance and it was cleared off the line.  

“For us to compete at the level we want to, we need to put the ball in the back of the net more often when those chances arise. 

“There is a lot of external factors when you play away from home, but you can’t have any excuses as a player – you have got to go out and perform. 

“And if I look at where expectation and pressure lie, we have got a wonderful chance on Saturday to get a positive result.” 

On playing away from home: 

“You want to try and remove any fear from the players. 

“You want to give them confidence. Up to Tuesday night, we had seven points from nine. 

“We are in a good vain of form. You are going to lose games in this league, we always knew that. 

“What’s important now is how we react. My job and the coach's job is to help the players understand just how good we feel they can be. 

“They have showed that in patches this season. I look at some of our players and the experience they have of the level and the levels above – it's up to them, as well as us as coaches, to give them confidence whilst also understanding there is always going to be pressure away from home. 

“Wigan is a big stadium. There will be external pressure. For one or two of our players, it might be the biggest stadium they have played in. 

“How do you, from my perspective, remove pressure? I think you talk to them. But also the senior players are so important. 

“We have got a lot of seniors in our group who have played at stadiums like this and bigger. You have got to deal with that expectation. 

“If it was me I would be extremely excited – because the players are the lucky ones that get to go and play. 

“However, we have got to play with no fear. I’ve said to the players today, I really want them to trust each other more in possession. Why? Because they can do it. 

“They will do. We are working on a couple of things we want to implement at the weekend. 

“If we do that, coupled with their effort and desire - which I can never question because that has been a constant throughout the season regardless of results – we have got a chance.” 

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