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Alexander looks forward to home derby clash

22 January 2018

United manager Graham Alexander is looking forward to Tuesday’s home derby clash with Doncaster Rovers.

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23 January 2018

Looking for a response after Saturday’s home defeat to Gillingham, he told iFollow Iron the latest team news and previewed the fourth game this season against Darren Ferguson’s men.

We have to improve, we know that. Saturday wasn’t good enough for us, even though we had the opportunities to score and should have. The goals we gave away were poor from our perspective. The general feel of the performance, in the first-half especially, didn’t give me positive vibes at all, compared to what we usually can do. We didn’t force the issue or ask enough questions in our general play. When we did, at the start of the second-half, we were the better team by a long way and dominated. We got the equaliser and had two fantastic chances to take the lead again. A goal against the run of play took the wind out of our sails and we didn’t really recover from that moment. That’s for us to improve on, and put right for tomorrow.

The players are well aware of the local rivalries as soon as you join a club. We’ve played each other three times already but it’s the first time at Glanford Park, and I’m sure supporters of both clubs will turn out in their numbers to back their team. We have to make sure we compete at the right level, are disciplined, and focused on being a good team. We have to play at our best, and get that feel-good factor about ourselves in the changing room and the squad because winning is good and everyone likes to feel good. Playing against each other three times already, you learn a lot about the opposition but it’s the same for them. We need to focus on this game particularly, and not what’s gone on in the past. We’ll treat it as a new game and go full of confidence from the good things we’ve done over the last few months.

He’ll miss Tuesday, but Matt Gilks is getting a lot better. Speaking to Michael (McBride, the club’s Head of Medical Services), he’s improved a lot, so it’s really good news. It’s the same at any football club, you get a couple back and lose a couple because there’s always something niggling away in the background with players. That’s professional football, it’s a competitive sport. Sam Mantom isn’t training with us yet but is on the grass, Luke Williams is training day-in day-out but has been out for a long time so we have to make sure he’s fully fit. Each week is a progression and he’s not quite ready to go into the squad but we’re constantly looking at what he’s doing and assessing him. We know there’s a good player in there when he’s fully fit. Andrew Crofts will start training again today, but whether he’s fit enough to be involved on Tuesday we’ll wait and see. Ryan Yates is back here with us and will be around the players. He has a few stitches in his finger but we won’t put the player at risk. He might be in contention for Saturday’s game.

It’s difficult most weeks unless we win 4-0 and everyone who’s played is fit. All the players in the squad come into contention. We spoke (the coaching staff) straight after the game on Saturday, and then again on Monday morning after a bit of breathing space. Whichever team we put out will be full of good players. It’s about getting the balance right.

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