Welcome back everyone and in particular a warm welcome to Derek Adams, his team and everyone who has travelled up from Plymouth today. They are in very good form at the moment but we enjoyed an excellent win down at their place earlier in the season so it sets everything up nicely.
After the win at Charlton I spoke at some length about the need to try and find some consistency. That’s something that has been a little bit elusive. We started the season well and only lost one of our first seven games but after that we have struggled to get back-to-back wins and one of the big things we need to start doing is follow up a good away win with a convincing performance at home.
That was certainly the case against Bristol Rovers last week when we got off to an ideal start but then lost our way a little bit and allowed Rovers back into the game. It wasn’t a lack of effort or hard work because I thought everyone put in a proper shift but looking back at the game Rovers were the more cohesive team. That’s maybe what you would expect, given that they have been building for a few years. By contrast we have five new players in the building and, no matter how hard you work on the training ground, it does take time for a team to get used to playing together in games.
That’s not an excuse; we are self-critical and hold our hands up when things go wrong, but again at Rotherham you could see phases of the game where we were on top, particularly when we got it to 2-1 and might have got an equaliser before half time. We started the second half strongly as well but were punished for a lapse in concentration and it went to 3-1. We stayed in the game and created chances and there were definite plusses: Rob Dickie can be very proud of his debut and I thought we caused plenty of problems for a side that is now unbeaten in 12 games.
Unfortunately, when you don’t win games then the pressure builds, especially in home games. We believe we have a good mix of talented young players and older heads and right now we have to decide who can handle the situation and start turning things around so we win games of football again.
I don’t think we are a million miles off and the next couple of weeks should see Jon Obika, Mike Williamson and Rob Hall back in contention to add options. But what we need more than anything else is a convincing home win. It’s not going to be simple against a good Plymouth side but we have trained hard, we will be prepared, and we will be determined to turn home advantage into three points this afternoon.
You can read the full programme online at www.matchdayfix.com/oufc