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We're ready for the challenge

29 March 2018

Interim manager Nick Daws has spoken to the media for the first time since his appointment, as the Iron prepare to visit Oxford United on Good Friday.

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Pay on the day at Oxford United

29 March 2018

Assisted by Andy Dawson, the duo have been preparing the team for the trip to the Kassam Stadium following the exit of Graham Alexander and Neil McDonald last Saturday night.

Daws spoke to iFollow Iron about a number of topics ahead of the match, including team news, how the week’s gone and preparations ahead of facing Karl Robinson’s side in front of the live Sky Sports cameras (12.45pm kick-off).

ON THIS WEEK’S EVENTS…
ND:
It’s obviously an extremely difficult time because you foster fantastic working relationships with people that are likeminded and people you know have entered into this business with real heart, enthusiasm and talent. The events of the weekend have been tough, and if Graham was sat here in my shoes he’d be saying the same thing. The objective is for the team to try and win football matches.

ON BEING ASSISTED BY ANDY DAWSON AGAIN…
ND:
We’ve always worked really well together and bounce off each other. He’s had a different viewpoint (after spending the season so far as Professional Development Phase Coach) and has been able to watch games without the effects of having to think about it from a coach’s perspective. He has got slightly more removed views from it, which have been great. He’s been able to reaffirm things. He’s given insights both to me and the players.



ON THE TASK AHEAD…
ND:
I’m looking forward to the challenge. We’re in a great position, and it’s an enviable one to be in to have that challenge to get enough points to be in the play-offs. If we achieve that, then great. The next objective would be to win the next pair of games to take us one step further than the club achieved last season. The ultimate is then the final at Wembley and the chance of getting into the Championship.

ON THE MESSAGE FROM CHAIRMAN PETER SWANN…
ND:
He’s told us to give it a go and don’t be fearful. He’s been incredibly positive for us to go and take up the challenge.

ON WHAT HE CAN TAKE FROM HIS PREVIOUS TIME IN CHARGE…
ND:
I take confidence in the fact I know the processes that we put in place gave us the best chance of winning games, and we won a fair few. The differences are this is a completely different place in time - a different team, with different strengths to what we had at that time. That brings itself different challenges. I knew the players then and I know the players now, we had a good squad then and have a good squad now. There’s less breathing space this time because there are seven games to go and fewer places up the table to climb. Our opponents will probably be thinking about us and knocking us off our perch more than last time, but it’s just a new challenge and we’re looking forward to it.

ON THE PLAYERS’ RESPONSE IN TRAINING THIS WEEK…
ON TRAINING THIS WEEK…
ND:
We had an initial split recovery and training group on Monday. We then gave them Tuesday to reflect on some of the information we’ve given them and to get their head around it. We’ve had them back in on Wednesday to really focus on Friday’s game. They’ll be as ready as we can have them by the close of play on Thursday.

ON THE OXFORD GAME, WHICH IS LIVE ON SKY…
ND:
This is our first live TV game of the season. The travelling time, the fact it’s an overnight stay and an early kick-off just brings a different element to it. We’re not going to place too much focus on that though because there’s no need. I saw Oxford at the weekend against Portsmouth, and they were hampered by the sending-off (of Alex Mowatt). At that moment, they were well in the game and were in a position to get a result. Karl Robinson’s been in the job for a few more days than me but he’s come into a situation where he didn’t know the players before, but has some good staff around him to help him with that. They’ll pass the ball, and look to be expansive and progressive. That’s the challenge that faces us – a direct opponent that has youth, talent, ability, strength and determination. I fully expect the crowd will be very supportive and vociferous, but we’ve been in these situations before and we’re ready for the challenge.

ON THE INJURY SITUATION…
ND:
Everybody is creeping towards fuller fitness. Lee Novak got back on the grass on Wednesday, Marnick Vermijl has been back on it for a few more days, while Luke Williams has also been back on the grass. Jordan Clarke is getting fitter, stronger and more confident by the day. We’ve had Clayton Lewis away on international duty with New Zealand and he’s come back into the group this week after playing at the weekend. There’s only Jonathon Margetts who’s out long-term. We’ve had a bigger squad of players to choose from in training but I don’t think the injured lads will be back for Friday.

ON JORDAN CLARKE…
ND:
He’s in contention. The decision around Jordan will be based, like last week, on the risk of playing him from the start. If he’d fatigued quite quickly, he might have put himself at risk, so it was the sensible decision. We have a responsibility to put out the best team to get a result, but also to look at the longer-term picture in terms of the squad and the individual.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FANS…
ND:
We need them - I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it in my 12th Man notes this time. They are incredibly important to support the team when they need it most. They did that previously and the more numbers there are helps it, as does the more we perform and give them something to cheer about because that’s what we have a responsibility to do. They’re not going to get behind the team as much if they’re not producing moments of excitement. If the ball isn’t predominantly in the opposition’s defensive third then I’m sure they’ll get behind us more. They pay their money because they want to support the team in achieving its objective.

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