Good afternoon everybody and welcome back as we take on Bury. It has been a tough season for our visitors so far but they have a very talented squad and I know those players will want to impress the new management team this afternoon. We have to concentrate and do our jobs properly and hopefully we can come out on top and get another three points.
If we can do that then it would make it three wins from three home games in 2018. It started with a good win over MK Dons on New Year’s Day and we backed that up with an important win over Blackpool last time we played here. We had to be a little patient before Jon Obika scored the winning goal but I do think we were worthy winners.
Unfortunately we could not follow that with a win at Walsall on what turned out to be a frustrating afternoon all round. I thought the performance was very good and we created a lot of chances as well as dominating possession. The only difference was that Walsall were clinical when they got a sight at goal. I would say they had three chances at most, but they put two of them away and then defended very well to keep us out despite Alex Mowatt’s excellent free kick. If you play away and the home goalkeeper is everyone’s Man of the Match then I think that tells a story about how the game went.
When you put in a decent performance but lose you have to be self-critical and we have had a whole week with no midweek game to interrupt our preparations as we've looked to cut out our mistakes ahead of today's game. There are a few changes to the squad since we were last here and I’d like to welcome Rob Dickie, Cameron Brannagan and Isaac Buckley-Ricketts to the club. All three are young, talented players with fantastic attitudes. They have shown their ability in training and are putting in the effort to be ready to help the team.
The one player to leave, as I write these notes, is Jack Payne, who was recalled by Huddersfield on Monday. We have enjoyed working with Jack and I know the fans have appreciated his hard work in the famous yellow shirt. He made a big contribution to the team this season, but we have always known there was a recall clause and there was a danger we could lose him at this stage of the season. We wish him well for the future.
I have said many times that it is not about individuals, it is about the team and the club. Players come and go but our job is to help them improve individually and help them improve the team in the process. There will be ups and downs along the way but we feel we have improved as the season has gone on, and with 18 games left we are in a strong position from which to press on.
Finally, as always, a thank you to the fans. I thought you were outstanding at Walsall and we need you to be just as loud and positive this afternoon as we try to pick up another important win.