We’ve got to be hard to beat

Bobby, what a win that was. You said before Saturday that Slough would be meeting a confident side and they did just that. How pleasing was it to see us play with such confidence yesterday?

As a manager, you want your team to start picking up points at this stage, so yesterday was important for us. Overall, the performance was just brilliant for everyone involved at the club.

You said it was simply three points and onto the next game. How important is it to not lose the momentum from that performance?

Well, we’ve only had one defeat in six games. Obviously you can’t win every game, but one loss in six is the sign of a team in good form. I think that showed yesterday. We certainly played like a team full of confidence. We were able to do the off-the-ball dirty work at the start of the game, before we blew Slough away in the second half with some brilliant football.

Everyone in the ground saw two sides to us on Saturday. That was really pleasing, as we work on the defensive side a hell of a lot. In this league, it’s important to be organised as a team.

Teddy Howe has been a creative force from defence recently. It seems to me that he’s starting to show a real influence in games.

It’s really nice at the moment that people are talking about how well my players are playing. As a manager, I take pride in that. As much as good team performances are important, it’s crucial to see individual players getting better as the season progresses.

There’s a lot of players who have gone through difficult stages this season with injuries, not playing and so on. It’s not just Teddy; the whole squad are really starting to enjoy their football, and that’s down to their hard work. We’re not even at one percent of where we want to be, but we’re improving. That’s a sign of moving forward, and, look, we’re only nine points away from the play-off places.

It’s been announced today that Harry Parsons is staying. How does it feel to keep a player of his quality at the club for longer?

I’ve got a brilliant relationship with him. He’ll tell you that. He wanted to stay, because he’s loving his football here. As a manager, I felt very proud when he said that. I love working with him, and to have a player of his quality at the club for another month shows we must be doing something right!

I’ll delve further into the importance of being close to the players. Last week, Gerard Benfield spoke to me about his good relationship with Jason Matthews.

Is it important to you that players bond with all members of staff?

I let people do their jobs. Jason is the goalkeeping coach and he works closely with Gez. It’s important that they both trust each other. They’ve got a good relationship, and it appears to be working because Gez is in good form. He had a difficult spell after his injury, but he’s getting fitter and better.

We’re next onto a Tuesday night game. I can imagine you’re trying not to look back at our previous Tuesday results too much, but rather just treating it as the next game.

The most important thing is that it’s just the next game against a very good side. They’ve been in and around the play-offs all season. We’ve done a lot of work on them, and we’ve called in an extra session online, where the players will be watching clips of the Braintree team. Together, we will be studying them and analysing how to beat them.

We’re organising extra sessions to make sure we’re as prepared as we can be.

This season, results suggest we’ve been stronger away from home. With that in mind, what are the players usually reminded of going into away games?

First thing is first, we’ve got to be hard to beat. We need to match them in every department, because it’s easy to get blown away at tough grounds like Cressing Road. We’ve been a good side away from home, and we’ve picked up some crucial points. We’d love to continue that on Tuesday. Can we keep the momentum going?

This certainly won’t be an easy fixture, though. What do our players need to be wary of?

Their last home game was against Hampton & Richmond Borough, who were the most in-form team at the time, behind Yeovil Town. Braintree won that match.

They are a very, very good side at home.

This will be a very difficult contest. We don’t have a lot of luck on Tuesday nights, but that will end at some point, and hopefully it will happen this coming game. When you have individuals like Brandon, Harry, Tom and the rest of our players in such good form, we’ll be going there full of confidence.

As always, what has been the key message going into Tuesday’s game?

We’ve got to go to Braintree and believe we can win. We can really cause an upset there. A win will bring us up another couple of places in the table. Let’s see if we can turn our bad Tuesday luck into good luck.

Bring it on!

Interview by
Jack Webb

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