Here are the key points from his pre-match press conference:
It looked a bit better on the training ground today. We had 21 players out on the pitch, which was nice. We had Kevin Stewart back, we had Ryan Tafazolli, we had Matthew Pennington back. Jon Toral has trained with us for a few days now, so things are looking a bit better on the injury front now. Hopefully by Monday next week, we’ll have de Wijs, Burke, Samuelsen and Angus MacDonald all back with us as well.
‘Penno’ has had a full weeks worth of training now whereas, ahead of the Blackburn game, he’d only trained once. That would’ve been a big risk for us to put him back in on Tuesday night. He definitely comes into the thinking for Friday night’s game against Swansea though. It was Tafazolli’s first day back today, but he hasn’t been out of action for too long. He’s only missed eight-to-ten days, so he’ll also come into the thinking.
Jon is progressing nicely. He’s had a good week of training and is getting both fitter and sharper. It would be good to get him another week under his belt next week and then he starts to come into the thinking as well. Jon is a player that we think highly of here and can add that bit of quality to the team – he has the ability to unlock a defence or pick a pass. We’ve got an Under-23s game coming up over the next week or so and we’ll try to look to get a few of the boys some minutes in that.
He looked fine. We were waiting for clearance from the consultant that he could train today and we received that half-way through today’s session. We brought him into the group and he looked fine. Kevin is the sort of player that is naturally fit, which means you can almost speed him up a little bit, so he is another that will come into the thinking for tomorrow night.
Maybe there’s a little bit of a lack of confidence in some at the minute. When results go against you and aren’t going your way, it’s very easy to start disagreeing with things or blaming things but we don’t have that culture here. We’re all very much in this together and we have to find a way to get that next win. Hopefully, that will come tomorrow night and we can then start to build the confidence and belief from there.
There’s no hiding behind the fact that we’ve been disappointing in the last five or six games but this is such a tough league that even the teams at the top are experiencing tough runs. We just need to find a way to get that next win and when that comes, it will give everyone a boost from which we can hopefully kick on. It’s important for the players to just focus on the football. We need to get back to playing the way we know we can. We just want to take the safety catch off the boys a little bit and start enjoying their football once again. We want them to play with freedom and a smile on their faces and combine that with teamwork and working hard for each other.
The next game is always the most important for us. We have to try and build a bit of momentum. We’re way behind where we want to be, so we have to hold our hands up and say it is going to be difficult for us to challenge for the top six now because of recent results. But, we’ll never stop believing in what we’re doing. Things can change ever so quickly in the Championship because it’s a very unpredictable league. I won’t let the season fizzle out, that’s not the way I operate. We’ll keep going right until the very last day of the season. There are still 14 games to play and a lot of points to play for.
We need to be better at the KCOM. We’ve been disappointing at home. Our away form hasn’t been too bad, but we know that an improvement is needed on home soil. We just need to concentrate on the bread and butter now and get back to showing what we can do as a team.
They’re a good footballing side. Yes, they’ve had their own struggles of late and I think they’re in a similar run of form as we are. They’ve only won one of their last seven in all competitions, so something has to give. I think it will be a good game. We just need to focus on ourselves and our own performance, making sure we get that right. Hopefully, the boys can get their confidence up and play with a bit more freedom and that will lead to us getting the win.