Good afternoon everyone and first of all I’d like to thank everyone for the messages and comments since I was asked to step in and take charge of the team. I have loved every minute of my time here and feel very honoured that the Chairman and Board have such faith and trust in me. I can honestly say that the response from the players has been first class and I think the performance last week said everything you need to know about the team spirit and togetherness here.
In the rush to celebrate the win I think people maybe overlooked the fact that we came from behind twice in that game as well. It takes tremendous character to do that but I thought over the 90 minutes we deserved the win because we managed to play some really bright, attractive, football and we hit the woodwork twice as well as scoring three goals, so it was a very encouraging performance. There were very promising debuts from Ashley Smith-Brown and Todd Kane plus a terrific performance from Malachi Napa. The latest in a series of exciting players to have made the step up from the Academy.
I’m not going to pretend it was perfect; we conceded two goals where we should have done better, but that’s something we know we can work on and improve. Overall I thought it was a really enjoyable afternoon for everyone concerned and for Lego to score in front of a packed away end was a sight I won’t forget in a hurry.
I’d like to thank everyone who made that journey and created such a wonderful atmosphere. It’s important that we try and do the same thing here because one of the frustrations this season has been that we haven’t made this place the fortress it really should be. There have been some games here in recent years where the atmosphere was electric and it’s up to us to put in performances that lift you off your seat and get you roaring the team towards you. The intention is to start as we mean to go on today.
I think there are a lot of parallels between us and Bristol Rovers. We seem to have mirrored each other’s achievements in winning promotion back into the Football League and then making the step into League 1. Games have been very tight between us over the last couple of seasons and I expect much the same today. There is the added spice of a couple of familiar faces in the Rovers squad in Sam Slocombe and Liam Sercombe, so everything points towards a great occasion and a very good game of football.
We have worked extremely hard in training this week and I wanted to end these notes with one last thank you. The staff, both at the training ground and stadium, have been brilliant over the last couple of weeks and there is a real buzz around the place. So thank you to everyone who has made that happen, and now we have to keep that going and add fuel to it with a positive performance and a win this afternoon.
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