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Alexander looks ahead to Grimsby test

2 October 2017

Manager Graham Alexander has been previewing the home Checkatrade Trophy group stage clash against Grimsby Town.

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United face the Mariners on Tuesday, and the boss will take the opportunity to give game time to some of the players in the squad who haven't received as much of that as they'd have liked in recent weeks.

He spoke about the game, and provided an injury update, as he previewed the match with the media on Monday.

GA: It’s important we give the opportunity to players who are desperate to play in the first team in the league. They’re knocking on the door and training well, but without the bonus of a game at the end of the week it’s frustrating for them. We’ll try and get as many of them involved as possible. We haven’t got enough players available to make as many changes as we did for the Sunderland Under-21s game though. We’ll make the changes we see fit and put out a team we expect to put on a good performance. It’ll be a strong team because we’ve got a good squad, and the motivation for the players will be high because they’re desperate to play football.

GA: The players acquitted themselves well in the game against Sunderland Under-21s. We did similar last season, and the results/performances were good. We work a lot on the importance of every time the players put on the shirt - they’re representing themselves, the club and the supporters. That responsibility needs taking seriously and we try and do everything spot on because we want to pride ourselves in the way we go about our work. There’s nothing more important than when we go into a game in front of our supporters. We’re looking forward to it. We’re playing against a local rival, which will add a little bit to the game, and the atmosphere will be good. We’ve been one of the better supported clubs in these rounds, in terms of attendances for clubs of our size. It’s helped the players who have come into the team perform at their best. I think there will be added numbers (to the crowd) on Tuesday, with it being against Grimsby, so I’m sure the players are looking forward to it. We’ll name the team in training on Monday, go through our paces and make sure we’re as best prepared as possible.

"It’ll be a strong team because we’ve got a good squad, and the motivation for the players will be high because they’re desperate to play football."

Graham Alexander, manager

GA: We played against Notts County, who are flying high in League Two, in the Carabao Cup and saw what a tough game that was. We never underestimate any challenge we’ve got - we didn’t against Sunderland Under-21s and I thought that was a competitive game as well. We want to be on the front foot and want to feel good about ourselves when we come off the pitch. The only way to do that is by playing well and winning. We want to do well in this competition.

GA: We’re frustrated and disappointed, with the miles that we and the supporters put in, that we didn’t get more points from those games. I felt we did enough to do that, but probably not enough to get six points from two games. We had to show a bit more quality from our attacking play as a group. I feel either game could have gone our way in a positive fashion, so to get one point from that group of matches was disappointing. We took good numbers to Gillingham and Shrewsbury last week, which was a great advert for the support we get as a club. We’re looking forward to putting on two good performances this week now, starting with tomorrow’s.

GA: We’re hoping to get one or two back towards the end of the week if possible, but they won’t be with us on Tuesday. We want a couple (of the injured players) at least training with us by Thursday/Friday, but if not we’ll aim for next week.

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