Chris Wilder's programme notes from the Northampton game
After last Saturday’s defeat we had a long talk and the things to come out of it were really that we had to get the basics right. We needed to compete more, work harder and play more. We need to up our work rate and tempo and if we get the ball be more positive in possession. I was delighted that the performance on Tuesday night in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy was much improved, especially in the first half.
We made changes to the team and I thought that the young boys gave energy to the team, and I thought that the support that we got was exceptional. I thought that the support that you gave the young players to go and do well was absolutely first class and I really enjoyed watching the team and I got the sense that supporters did as well. We were on the front foot for 60 minutes and should have been comfortably ahead at half time.
Unfortunately a couple of changes were forced on us with Alfie and Ryan Williams both going off and perhaps the youngsters just ran out of steam a little bit. The introduction of Agyemang for Portsmouth was the key for them but they stuck with a very experienced line-up from the previous game while we made five changes because we wanted to give players a chance. I thought all five – Callum, Scott, Ryan, Josh and Beano – all played very well in a very promising performance.
Today we have Dave Kitson, Sean Rigg, Danny Rose, Andy Whing and Jake Wright available again, although we will most probably lose Alfie from the group. Having those experienced players back is great although being available and picking the pace of the game up can be two different things. All of those players are winners and I would expect them to perform well whether they are coming back into the side or have played a few matches in succession.
We have tough decisions to make because we have to pick a side to do a job against a Northampton side that were within 90 minutes of going up last season. Aidy and Andy King are real football people who know the game inside out and after a good away win last week they will want to carry that on.
We fully expect a hard game this afternoon, having had some great battles with Northampton in the last few years. We understand that we have to improve the home form, the players know that but I don’t feel that they fear playing at home at all. We just need to up things a little and results will come. I asked for a reaction after last weekend and got one from a young side on Tuesday, and I will be looking for a similar energy and hunger from whoever we select today.
Northampton know they are in for a hard game today so let’s show them that from the stands to the dressing room we are still very much together.