The manager in today's matchday magazine
It has been a good start to the season so far, and we will now look to take that one step forward as we welcome Plymouth Argyle today. It is far too early to start talking about league tables and positions; we haven’t even had a home game on a Saturday yet. However we have done well so far and given ourselves a chance of being in the mix once those tables start to take proper shape for the first time.
I have been delighted with the hard work put in by everyone so far. On and off the pitch we are all pulling in the same direction and it has been very encouraging stuff. We will need to play well today though against a good Plymouth side managed by Carl Fletcher. Having enjoyed a great playing career Carl had a thankless task last year but did extremely well in his first managerial role and after overseeing his first pre-season I am sure he will have his side properly prepared for today. They picked up their first point in midweek at Dagenham, where we know it is always difficult, and will be dangerous opposition.
On Tuesday night against Southend I thought we were very worthy winners. Even before they had a man sent off I thought we were dominating possession and playing the game in their half, but then a decision to show a red card can sometimes change things and make it harder because all of a sudden you are facing a team desperate to hold on for what they have.
Credit to the players who took the initiative and tried to play the ball wide and to keep possession. It is a thankless task trying to chase the ball for over an hour when you are a man light but I thought we made it even harder for Southend by using the ball very well, making them move, and using our heads.
If I am critical then perhaps we should have made the game safe a little earlier because we certainly had the chances to do so, but we stayed patient and got our reward in the end. I’d like to thank you for your support and the patience you showed as well. I know the temptation is to thrown the ball forward when you have an extra man, but you stayed right behind us as we played out a tactically very tough game and I thank you for that support once again.
It was good to see Tommy Craddock get a couple of goals and he rightly took the headlines, but it was a team effort and I thought Deane Smalley also had a great game after coming in for James Constable. ‘Beano’ just felt a tight groin ahead of the game and we didn’t want to risk making it worse but it was typical of the man that he flagged it up and was prepared to sit a game out when everyone is desperate to play. James is a team man and will be back, and while talking about team spirit I should praise Lee Cox for Tuesday as well. We sacrificed a midfielder for an attacker at half time and he was the man to make way, but he understood why and was right behind the lads in the second half.
Little examples like those two just highlight the team spirit and the strong bond in the changing room, something we hope will help us go a long way this season.
Enjoy your Bank Holiday, and get behind us today and play your part in helping us continue our start to the season.