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Interviews

Northampton (A): Alexander's team news and preview

3 November 2017

Manager Graham Alexander admits his team will face a difficult Northampton Town side in the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon, but he sees it as just another game.

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Fans can pay on the day at Northampton

3 November 2017

The Iron will face the Cobblers at the Sixfields Stadium twice in two weeks (with a league fixture to follow on November 18th), and Alexander appreciates the dedication of the supporters who will be making the same journey twice.

Ahead of the cup clash, he spoke to iFollow Iron about Northampton, team news and gave his reaction to captain Rory McArdle’s international call-up to the Northern Ireland squad.

ON THE NORTHAMPTON MATCH…
GA: When you go to any opponent in the same division, it’s going to be a tough game, and I’m sure Northampton won’t disappoint us in that aspect. It’s another match for us to win in a different competition and we want to continue our run of form. We’re looking forward to it and I still think there is a buzz about the FA Cup. That goes throughout the whole club – players, staff and supporters. It’s a big competition so we want to do well in it, but we can only take one game at a time, starting with Northampton on Saturday.

ON THE FA CUP…
GA: Anyone who has a love for English football knows the history of the FA Cup, and that’s where the beauty of it is. It’s littered with great stories, giant killings and unexpected cup wins. As a player, staff member and a supporter, you want to be a part of that at some stage in the history of the FA Cup. It’s always exciting to be in a cup draw and there’s always magic around the unknown.

"Anyone who has a love for English football knows the history of the FA Cup, and that’s where the beauty of it is."

Graham Alexander, manager

ON PREPARING FOR AN FA CUP GAME…
GA: We approach every game the same way. We don’t even talk about what competition it is. We just see it as an opponent to beat. We don’t differentiate from our planning, so everything is the same. We look for the same sort of performances that win games. It’s important we stick to that and winning games in any competition creates momentum. We want to get on a good run of form and I feel we’re in that. In the last couple of league games we’ve got the results we deserved.

ON PLAYING NORTHAMPTON AWAY TWICE IN QUICK SUCCESSION…
GA: It’s real tough commitment financially and time-wise, but it’s brilliant what the fans do to come and support us. We would love them to be there both times. We need them with us and they always have an impact on our performance when they get behind us. We love seeing them and trying to get a performance for them. 

ON TEAM NEWS…
GA: We’ve stuck to the same formula throughout my time here with the Checkatrade Trophy, changing the team and giving everyone the opportunity to showcase what they can do. They have to make sure that they are ready for the competition within the squad. Looking at the last two games, we’ve got that with the 20-odd players that we’ve used. They’ve all played at least 90 minutes. It bodes well with the squad, so we can take that forward into future games. We will work and see who has recovered well from Tuesday’s game.

ON CLAYTON LEWIS’ DEBUT…
GA: Clayton’s stats were fantastic from the game. That really surprised us, but every credit to him and the work he has done in the last month since he has been with us. I think he still needs a bit of sharpness, but he will only get that through games and training. He can be proud of his contribution on his debut. I thought he was superb and scored a very good goal. It was a good way for him to introduce himself to the supporters and his teammates.

ON NEAL BISHOP…
GA: He’s going to do a little bit of light training with the medical staff. Then we will see how he is comfort-wise. There’s no serious damage there and Neal doesn’t like missing a training session, never mind a game. We will see how he is, but we know we’ve got to put people out there who are 100 per cent right in their mind. He had strained one of the muscles in between his ribs. There’s still a bit of discomfort there and a bit of pain.

Videos

📹 iFollow: Graham Alexander previews Emirates FA Cup encounter against Northampton

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ON PLAYERS RETURNING…
GA: Levi Sutton is training with us, so that’s a positive but probably too soon for him to be involved on Saturday. Everyone else is still missing. Jonathon Margetts is having an operation down in London.

ON RORY McARDLE BEING CALLED UP FOR NORTHERN IRELAND…
GA: It’s a great credit to everyone at our club. We’ve played well, especially defensively, and Rory has been a major part of that. We have been so pleased with him since he has come in. We knew of his qualities when we played against him, but to get him in the building and what you see on the pitch of him is what you get every day in training. He is committed to everything he does and is a great lad. He is respected by all of his teammates and has been a great addition to this club. It’s a real big time for Northern Ireland. They are on the verge of a World Cup appearance for the first time in a long while. If Rory can make a contribution to that and be involved in a World Cup, then there is nothing better for any footballer. We hope he goes there and does well. There’s a bit of frustration from our point because he will be away from us. His value is massive for what he gives to us, but we know we’ve got good centre-halves. 

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