All I will ask of the players is that they give their all

Mark, your first game back in charge on Saturday. We can assume you’re absolutely buzzing.

Yeah, super excited to see the boys in training, up-close and personal. That’s the bit I get the most buzz out of, on the training ground and preparing the players to be the best they can be on a matchday.

It goes without saying that the key thing is to get close to the players and understand what you need from every single one of them.

Definitely. From now until the end of the season, I will be in “assessment mode,” where I can see how the players work and where we can add some value for the future. Hopefully, I can look to set early foundations for next season, which will help us hit the ground running.

With having the chance to watch our players on Monday, what positives did you notice?

If I had to judge them on that game, I thought the attitude and the application from the lads was first-class. There were some really good passages of play.

But, that’s against Yeovil, so I would expect their attitude to be that good in a game which means so much. Hopefully, they can keep those standards for the final stretch of the season.

On that day, even before we spoke, you were greeted by several fans and club staff.

We discussed the importance of community in football, and your desire to get everyone on the same page; to what extent is that the key thing that needs to be done to help build teams towards a successful future?

When I was here before, what we had was very unique, and what made it so special was the full alignment from everyone. Everyone, from the board, to the players and supporters, had the best interests of the club. We all pushed each other and gave our best. I will certainly be looking to re-create that. It certainly isn’t something I’ve seen at every other club I’ve been at since.

A big reason for me coming back was that I wanted a united club, a team to be proud of, and who played the way I want my teams to play. As a manager, you can live and die by your team if they’re doing what you want them to do.

Given that we’re a semi-pro team often up against professional clubs, that sense of community can be the thing that separates us from the other sides.

Definitely. I think there’s a lot of old-school morals and values that are starting to go out of the game, which is a sad reflection of football. It should be about the fans and the community. We certainly want to install those values within the club, which were there during my first spell here.

I think that’s what the success we had was built upon. Yes, we had fantastic players, but I think it was their attitude and mentality that was key. They were all really good lads.

Moving onto Saturday’s game, we also saw how well the Terras faithful were able to put Yeovil off their game. How much of a 12th man can they, once again, be away at Eastbourne?

Listen, I used to be able to convince players to play for Weymouth because of the fans. They really help sell the club to players, and to be able to play in front of these fans, you’ve got to entertain, roll your sleeves up and work hard.

They’re very powerful with helping the lads and pushing them on to put on a great performance. That helps me as a manager, and that helps the players going into every game.

On Monday we faced a team fighting to win the league, on Saturday we’re up against a team fighting to stay in it. A very different team, in terms of their objectives, but it’s said that these types of games can be just as tricky, if not more so.

Yeah, definitely. Every game is unique. When you play a team fighting for their lives, they put everything on the line. They will be just as challenging as Yeovil; on the road, it could be even tougher. I don’t think anyone had them to be down where they are, especially with their top-quality players.

With any game in this league, you have to be at your absolute best to get any kind of result.

Do you have a key message for your new players going into Saturday?

Continue the good work and focus on the controllables. Obviously there will sometimes be situations, like on Monday, which you can’t do anything about. But, you can prepare the best you can, and express yourself, too.

Nothing will change drastically after one training session. The players need to just carry on the good work that they have already been doing. All I will ask of the players is that they give their all, and, over their last few games, they have certainly done that.

Interview by
Jack Webb

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