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Gaffer at the Weekend

Steve Evans reflects on the 3-1 win at Swindon.

14 March 2021

A Sunday round-up from the Gaffer.

Q: A difficult first half in tricky conditions yesterday. You said a half time talk wasn't really needed. What was the main message though before the second period?
A1: The message for us was very simple. We needed to stay focused, work on the patterns of play we did on the training ground and change the shape and tactics quickly and effectively when asked to do so.
In fairness the lads delivered that and we had a comprehensive win we deserved.
Q: Going behind is never ideal but you must always be reasonably encouraged knowing you have an in-form striker on the pitch?
A2: We have in-form players all over and the great thing is they are so fit and bursting with energy.
Vadaine Oliver is, as you say, in brilliant form. He is a big character within the dressing room and he leads our front line brilliantly.
He and everyone must remain humble, focused and work hard. League 1, more than any other, is about any team can beat each other on the day as results have proven for all this season.
What experience tells me is that there is a lot of football to be played and we must be ready to meet every challenge head on.
Q: Credit to Connor and John for the first goal but V made an instinctive run and it paid off?
A3: The goal was straight off the training ground. First, a superb delivery from Jack Tucker, Connor gets the all important first contact and that led to John’s brilliant header that hit the underside of the crossbar, big V was brave in heading it home, although his nose was almost broken in the process, strikers often shed blood to score a goal and this was a clear example.
Q: His second was excellent, pouncing on a loose ball before finding the net from a tight angle. Did you think he had taken it too wide?
A4: Not for one minute did I think he had gone too wide as the lad has superb technique despite being so good in the air.
His anticipation, being on the front foot is something he has been working on with Paul Raynor and it’s nice to see good work paying off for the two of them.
Q: Kyle Dempsey got a deserved goal. He led by example in midfield, along with Stuart?
A5: I must say I thought both Kyle and Stuart were good all afternoon but in the second period they went up several gears and ran the game.
Both are super professionals that I love working with, both are winners and give me everything every single day.... as a Manager and teammate of there’s I can ask no more.
Q: The defence were solid, especially in the second half. Tucker and Cundy dealt with most challenges incredibly well?
A6: Robbie Cundy was excellent. The big man is improving as each week goes past, he is a willing learner, listens to instruction and, for me, he was excellent.
Jack did well in spells, he needs to stay focused in every second of every game but Jack is a lad I really like. He is working so hard and he cares so much, that is a brilliant ingredient to have.
Q: The subs had a positive impact on the game which must be pleasing?
A7: Yes they did.
Macca gives you real energy and big John is such a presence. Robbie McKenzie was excellent when he came on at Fleetwood in midweek and all three of those lads would have been disappointed not to have started yesterday but I know they are ready to do that.
Q: It's Lincoln on Tuesday. They lost at the weekend so I'm sure you'll have to prepare the boys for a reaction?
A8: Without doubt it was the shock result of the weekend.
Lincoln are a superb team and our task will be difficult, but all the pressure is on them.
We will need to deliver a season's best performance to return to Kent with something to show for our efforts.
We will prepare as best we can and have a plan to execute, we will have to be SAS like in our execution.
Q: Callum Slattery remains injured. What's the latest on his recovery?
A9: Callum is post surgery and making excellent progress. We will know more about that in the next couple of weeks.
Q: Today is Mothering Sunday, have you any plans?
A10: I must admit that this morning is the first time in my life I won’t see or ring my Mum who suddenly and sadly passed away last summer.
I am not afraid to say I sat at the bottom of my garden this morning and had a wee cry as I thought only about her and the love she expressed, I miss you Mum, I really do.

To all Mothers everywhere, have a great day, being spoilt today with flowers, a phone call in these times or a visit through the window, it’s the very least you deserve.

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