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Interviews

Pre-Bolton | Paul Hurst

15 April 2024

Interviews

Pre-Bolton | Paul Hurst

15 April 2024

Boss Paul Hurst met with the media ahead of our League One clash at Bolton.

Town travel to Greater Manchester tomorrow looking for a reaction following our defeat to Wycombe on Saturday.

The clash against the Chairboys saw very little goal-mouth action for the best part of 70 minutes.

But after Tom Flanagan received a red card, the visitors went on to win it thanks to late goals from Luke Leahy and Richard Kone.

Town face a Bolton side tomorrow who are right in the thick of the race for automatic promotion.

But we can take heart from performances at fellow high-flyers Derby and Portsmouth earlier in the season.

Speaking to the assembled media, Paul discussed the mood in the camp following the loss against the Chairboys.

And the boss also gave his thoughts on facing a Bolton side who a battling Derby for an automatic spot in the Championship.

On the mood following Wycombe: 

“I think the players seemed a little bit quiet initially today when they came in. 

“That is probably what I expected. But at the same time, we can’t dwell on that. 

“As much it still hurts talking about it, thinking about it – we have got a game to focus on now. 

“It’s a very difficult game so we have to move on from Wycombe. 

“We have done the video analysis on Bolton today and gone through some tactics on the training pitch. 

“Again, it is a quick turnaround. Realistically, there is only so much training you can do. 

“But we certainly need to have an idea of how we want to play going into such a difficult game against a team who I expect to be in the Championship next season. 

“Whether that be through automatic promotion or whether it is through the play-offs, if it is play-offs they will be the team to beat in my opinion.” 

On taking positives from our performances at Derby and Portsmouth: 

“I’ve spoken about the Portsmouth game – as much as we got ourselves back in it, a certain decision (the incorrect awarding of a penalty) made it more difficult. 

“But in the main, what we have got to do is start better than we did at Portsmouth. We started edgy in terms of possession of the football. 

“We then switched off to fall behind very early and at that point, I thought it was going to be a long afternoon. 

“I think against Bolton we have got to try and stay in the game as long as possible and try then to bring an edginess.

“It’s a big game for them, it’s a big game for us, but they are obviously trying to achieve something. 

“I think the results at the weekend, across all the leagues in England and Scotland, there are enough results there to show it’s that time of the year when a few nerves kick in. 

“We have to try and be one of those underdogs that can make life difficult. 

“Can we make Bolton really earn any victory they are after? And on our side can we carry a threat? 

“I think what we did at both Derby and Portsmouth – we had some decent spells in those games.  

“You have to try and get on the ball at some point.

"Bolton are very heavy on possession. They have quality players across the pitch and in the squad. 

“I looked at their bench at the weekend and it’s ridiculous – and they’ve still got a couple of players out injured as well. 

“But there has got to be an element of bravery and courage attached to your performance when you play those teams. 

“When you get the ball, you have to try and keep it because if not it’s going to keep coming back at you. 

“It is very hard to get a positive result if all you are doing is giving the ball back to the opposition.” 

On his message to the players: 

“We have to go into the game with a belief that we can get a result. 

“I think the Derby game is evidence that it can be done. 

“Sometimes you can be beaten before you start when you are playing teams at the top end of the league if all you are thinking is: ‘this is a tough game, we’re going to get beat.’ 

“They have to find that within themselves. I can say certain things. I can show them certain things. But at the end of it, they are the ones that cross the white line. 

“Then it comes to a point where I can influence with substitutions, tactics, tweak things. 

“But ultimately, they are out there on the pitch, and they have to play with that belief. 

“As we have touched on, they have to have that bravery and courage to get on the ball, to want the ball and also be up for the battle and challenge that’s in front of them. 

“Because if you do go under at places like that, it will be an even more difficult game than it already is.” 

On any new injury concerns: 

“No Tom Flanagan (suspension) is only one (missing from the Wycombe squad). 

“I think we had a couple of lads today feeling a couple of things, but we managed to get them out on the grass. 

“That is a positive. We don’t want to lose more players at such a crucial stage of the season.”

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