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Hill talks as Iron prepare for Salford

11 November 2021

First team manager Keith Hill has previewed his first league game in charge of the Iron, with Salford City the visitors this Saturday (3pm).

This weekend's home fixture sees Gary Bowyer bring his Ammies side to town, with Hill having been at United for just over a week by the time kick-off comes around.

Speaking about how his first week has gone, Hill told iFollow Iron: "There are a lot of good people who work at the football club and it's been very welcoming, while it's been brilliant working with the players.

"You find out a lot within your first week and there have been some pleasant surprises, while there have been some things that are obvious which we do have to change. We have to change what is a losing environment mentality into a winning, positive environment where we're going to generate success, and we've got to turn that around.

"That's going to take time with processes and habits, but I'm looking forward to the game at the weekend, which gives me the opportunity to see the players in a game that I suppose there is a little bit of pressure on. I want to see how the players react to it. I put them under pressure on a daily basis on the training pitch to the demands that I want to play the game at, but the players have then got to put those demands into practice 'live' in a very, very important game. There's no getting away from it, it is a very important game.

"We find ourselves bottom of the league and can't hide from that fact, we've got to embrace it against a Salford side who have a very good squad of players. We're going into that game very optimistic and we'll have a game plan to be successful. That's what I have to try and do over 31 games."

He added: "There will be a certain curiosity to what we get from our players. Over the last two games (versus Doncaster Rovers in the Emirates FA Cup and Papa John's Trophy) and training sessions, I've seen a lot of really good things and now we've got to put it all together. We can't keep waiting for things to happen, and have to turn around the points per game ratio. It's got to improve because it isn't good enough. We have to accept and take responsibility that the points tally isn't good enough, and hasn't been acceptable from the last 31 league games, which is what we have left.

"We have to make sure we turn our fortunes around in the next 31 games. I'm optimistic and I'm going to be asking the players on a regular basis to 'improve, improve, improve' so we get better opportunities to get points, because we want to maintain our League Two status. We want to. It's not a given and there are no givens in football. We've got to work harder than the opponents, and that has to be the mentality we drive into the players' performances on a daily basis, so we're asking players to probably change habits. I'm getting a good response from the players.

"They've got to be quick learners because we have 31 games but with the football egg timer it soon runs out. 31 games represents a lot of points but getting those is very, very difficult because everybody is after them, so you've got to make sure you hang on to those points for as long as you possibly can and take as many from every game. There will be lots of ups and downs but emotionally we have to remain in control, so that we don't choke as we're chasing the points and when we're emotionally low we have to make sure we get everybody up. When we win games, and we will win games, we have to make sure we don't react until the job's done. It's important that we celebrate those victories but we can't over-egg the pudding.

"We have to keep going, be humble in our pursuit, respect the opponents, respect one another and we want leaders. It's time for leaders. We have to make sure that we keep the points board ticking over, and we've got to make sure that we add to our total as we're playing the games."

The boss confirmed Harry Davis faces a number of weeks out with a calf injury, continuing: "I'm not too sure for how long but it's probably worse than we thought. It looked like just a tight calf initially but it's going to be for a sustained period of time so that's a bad injury for us, but it represents an opportunity for someone else to come in and stake a claim."

He concluded: "One or two players were precautionary left out of the squad during the week but I'm a manager who concentrates on the players that I have available fit. The process of selecting a team for Salford started as soon as I knew I'd got the job. Since last Thursday evening my main priority has been this game against Salford."

See much more from Keith Hill and Rory Watson on iFollow Iron.


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