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Interviews

Alexander updates pre-Sunderland

26 July 2017

Manager Graham Alexander has provided an update ahead of the home pre-season friendly against Sunderland on Wednesday night (7.30pm kick-off).

Talking to iFollow Iron ahead of the game, the United boss spoke about how training has gone, who will miss the game with the Black Cats and the minutes he’s likely to get into the players.

ON HOW TRAINING HAS GONE SINCE THE TRAINING CAMP IN AUSTRIA…
GA: Training has gone well. We only had the Sunday off. Saturday was a long journey really. There were delays at the airport and it took us virtually the whole day to get home. We were back in on Monday and trained, with a double session on Tuesday before preparing for the game against Sunderland. We’re building up now to where we need to be. We’re still a little bit short of the 100 per cent match fitness going into the season, but this is what these final two matches are for - we want to get as many minutes into them as possible to get them ready for the start of the season.

ON GAME TIME AGAINST SUNDERLAND…
GA: We will see how it goes but I expect the starting lads to play at least 70-75 minutes, unless there are any changes we have to make. We’ll just see how they progress and decide who we think can complete the 90 minutes safely and who can come on. We just need to be adaptable from the 75th minute really. I think a few will play 90 minutes, and they’ll be looking forward to it. They’ll have to catch their second wind and will need to dig in for the final 10-15 minutes, but that’s what these games are for.

"We will see how it goes but I expect the starting lads to play at least 70-75 minutes, unless there are any changes we have to make."

Graham Alexander, manager

ON WHO WILL MISS OUT…
GA: Luke Williams is still injured and Lewis Butroid has picked up a little twinge. Sam Mantom (below) has got a swollen foot from a tackle he took in Austria so he will miss this one. He had a scan on Monday and he should be training by next week hopefully. He’s had an injection to get the swelling down, and he should be okay next week.

Sam Mantom

ON HOW FUNSO OJO IS SETTLING IN…
GA: He’s a great lad and is comfortable around the players. He’s certainly comfortable on the football pitch and is a good footballer. He just needs to adapt to the rigours of English football, and the aggression/competitiveness of it. What I’ve seen in training so far, and in the 45 minutes he played against Salzburg, is that he’s a good player. We’re looking forward to him integrating even more and working as well as we expect with the rest of the players.

ON THE TEST SUNDERLAND WILL POSE…
GA: It will be one of high quality I suspect. They had their troubles last year, which resulted in relegation to the Championship, but they still have a fantastic squad. We expect a tough test and one we need at this stage. We need an upgrade in the quality of the opposition we’re going to play, and we’ll get that in the next two games. It will be a chance for the majority of supporters to get their first sightings of the new players and new kit, and they’ll get to reacquaint themselves with the team. We’re looking forward to it.

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