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Gaffer at the Weekend

Steve Evans answers a few questions following Saturday's 1-1 draw with Lincoln at Priestfield.

8 August 2021

A Sunday round-up from the boss.

Q: Although disappointed not to win Saturday, you must be pleased to get a point against a very strong side with 3/4 of your squad not available?

A1: Lincoln City are an excellent team, put together by an excellent manager.
City are spending like we can only dream, but what we must do is get value for money in everything we do.
We had four academy lads involved and we have the smallest squad by far in the EFL, but there is plenty of talent within it including the likes of young Jack Tucker, Kyle Dempsey and Vadaine Oliver who could all play comfortably at Championship level.
For me we dominated for long spells and made the best chances, but we will take that disappointment away when we report back in, positivity is our word!
Q: Going behind so early must have been frustrating; as a manager do you get slightly worried that you might fall further behind or do you have to trust your players to dig in?
A2: I was certainly not worried.
The goal came against the run of play as we started the first few minutes brightly.
I believe in the players totally, they give everything and we have talent. We lack in certain areas but that can only be fixed with increased resources and, at present, that is unlikely.
Q: After 20mins we seemed to settle and restrict Lincoln to few opportunities; we looked more comfortable as the game went on?
A3: We bossed the game from around the 20 minute mark until the end.
City concentrated on counter attacks and with the quality of players and pace they have it is always a threat, but we dealt with it.
Jack Tucker and Max Ehmer were outstanding and kept it an easier afternoon for young Chelsea loanee Jamie Cumming than it might have been, although he also looked very assured.
Q: Kyle Dempsey started the game; how late did you leave it before deciding to play him?
A4: Kyle is a wonderful player and you always want to give him every chance.
The lad only had a mild training session on Friday so to play as he did speaks volumes for his ability and his heart!
The lad has everything in his locker and his determination to improve is a great ingredient to have.
Q: Hearing the roar of the crowd as you headed to the dugout must have been satisfying?
A5: This morning I applaud the supporters. The atmosphere was electric and they really are the lifeblood of our football club.
The Rainham End did their best to help us score late on, and we had the chances to, but on another day we will given the quality of player we have.
Vadaine Oliver is a fantastic striker, almost unplayable at times and the kid is getting fitter by the day after a torrid time with Covid.
Q: It's been well documented how much we have missed supporters. Do you think the game will value fans more now following the last 18 months?
A6: I have always valued the supporters, but yes I agree. The last 18 months has shown us all they are indeed the lifeblood of every club.
As a football club we work hard to embrace them and I am personally involved in a few community projects which I am proud to help with.
Q: You head to your former club on Tuesday, Crawley. Can we assume you will play a young side and rest a few key players to keep the squad fresh?
A7: Yes there will be changes, but I will address this after training on Monday.
Q: Mustapha Carayol got clearance to feature on Saturday; where do you see his best position and what will he offer us?
A8: Muzzy is a talented lad and can player in either wide area, as a 10 or as a striker at times.
He will be a good player for us over the season and I know he is keen to get back to his best.
Q: Injury wise, what's the latest on Ryan Jackson, Rob McKenzie and John Akinde?
A9: All three lads are not far away at all, but we will know more in the week ahead.
They are all individually big players for us and without them we are stretched to the maximum.
Q: Recruitment wise, how many more would you like to sign? Is a forward a priority?
A10: We need to sign a few players and yes a striker is a priority but as a Manager you have to be governed by the resources you have to do it.
The pandemic has hit us hard and putting the club at financial risk can never be contemplated so I will try and get help where I can.

Yesterday was something to build on, a display that deserved a win and with the lowest resources in league 1 that was a very commendable performance against a team who are well funded and expected to challenge for promotion!

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