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Gaffer at the Weekend

Steve Evans reflects on Saturday's win over Blackpool.

27 September 2020

The manager delivers his usual Sunday verdict.

Q: You said after the Stoke game that Blackpool would be our toughest test of the season to date. How encouraging was our performance?
A1: I must admit everyone is very encouraged with these youngsters.
We are, in the main, a team of kids but they have so much ability, enthusiasm and a work ethic that is fantastic.
We must all continue to work hard on the training ground and focus on implementing that come match day.
I love working with these kids, it’s refreshing for me every day.
Q: Are you in any way surprised with how well the youngest players in your squad are performing?
A2: I am not surprised. We give them a framework to work within, then they need to express themselves on top of it.
We have a few older lads who play a big part on and off the pitch. Players like Alex MacDonald and Stuart O’ Keefe are invaluable in any successful group as is our young Captain Kyle Dempsey, so young and yet so valuable.
Q: It was a great second debut from Dominic Samuel. You must be pleased to see him score so early to release any potential nervous pressure?
A3: There is no pressure within the camp to score any goals, they are indeed a bonus.
However, there is pressure to be focused on your job, live properly and have a real work ethic. Without those credentials I don’t want them, but thankfully our young squad look so determined to do things properly.
Q: Zech Medley and Jack Tucker had a great games in the centre of defence. Has this given you food for thought going forwards?
A4: Both those young men are top class young players who are learning more every day. They have very solid competition in Christian Maghoma for a starting spot and they will have more from tomorrow if the formalities for a new squad addition are completed.
Q: Clinching a clean sheet is always a positive, but the collective defensive effort must have pleased you?
A5: The reality is we have a team who defend from the front and attack from the back.
Youngsters Scott Robertson and Josh Eccles are improving rapidly, they really are full of quality but again they have so much work to do to keep improving.
Another young man, Robbie McKenzie, was our best player away at Stoke City in midweek and he was excellent when he came on yesterday. Young graduate Henry Woods has improved out of all recognition and he is without doubt getting nearer every day to challenging for a starting spot.
Q: Scott Robertson had to come off with a knock, is there anything you can tell us about his injury?
A6: Scott will be fully assessed this morning but we are hoping it was only cramp, but it will most likely be tomorrow before we know exactly.
The kid has been brilliant in spells, Glasgow Celtic have themselves a youngster of real quality.
Q: You mentioned that a couple of new faces may arrive in the next few days, is that still the plan?
A7: Hopefully we can add to the squad this week but, in football, a player is never with you until he is your registered player.
We have a potential loan player in Central London later today for a medical so we are making progress with one and we are waiting to hear on one more. If that happens our squad will be complete and it’s small but full of youth and energy.
Q: You have a free week with your players now. How important is it to you to have a bit more time with the boys on the training ground?
A8: It’s great that we have some time after a hectic start to the season but equally we have a few players who need minutes on the pitch in competitive action, so a few of them will be involved in a closed door game away at a fellow EFL 1 club who will provide a real test for our lads.
Our other lads will work hard on the training ground, that is essential with a free week.

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