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Hill talks after draw with Northampton

22 February 2022

First team manager Keith Hill provided his reaction to iFollow Iron following his side's 0-0 home draw to League Two’s second-placed side Northampton Town.

Reacting to the game overall, the gaffer said: “I thought we performed quite well. I thought we were on the front-foot, took the game to the opponents and maintained it for 90 minutes where we could have won the game.

“I thought we defended well too, especially Ross Millen with the goal-line clearance, after what was a sustained period of injury time which was accumulated.

“We lost a little bit of concentration down the centre of the pitch, but Ross was in a brilliant position to recover.

“But concentration wise we were very good, they were a physical opponent and I thought we tried to play football so all-in-all I’m pleased with the performance.

“We’re looking for positives, we’re looking for something tangible and to build on. I thought there was a negative over-reaction to the Rochdale defeat but tonight we backed it up with a good performance. 

“We had another 45-minute clean sheet and a 90-minute clean-sheet tonight and we probably could’ve scored if we were maybe a bit more ruthless in front of goal with our runs and energy to get into the box but hopefully that’ll come.”

Reflecting on the newcomers starting to jell into the side, Hill said: “There are no guarantees, and I think the players are working hard. We’ve got to cut them a bit of slack to be honest with you. I think they can perform better without any pressure; I want the players to play free of any pressure.

“I thought Ryan Delaney was outstanding, I think he’s been outstanding since he came to the club.”

Defender Lewis Thompson was stretchered off in the 73
rd minute, after what was his first start for the club since November. Talking on the injury, which triggered the lengthy stoppage time, Hill said: “It’s another long-term injury, similar to the Pughy one (Tom Pugh, who will play no further part this season) is our guestimate.

“He needs to see a specialist and go for a scan, but the signs aren’t good. We’re losing a lot of players now and people will be asking me about Alfie Beestin. He hasn’t recovered 100 per cent from his bout of COVID and I’m really concerned. 

“it’s not fair on Alfie for me to expect the type of standard of football and the performances he was providing prior to when he had Covid because he can’t do it. 

“I’ve had a great conversation with him and we’re going to send him to a specialist. Hopefully we get some details of what the problems are so he can become the football player he was prior to having Covid.”

Hill also followed up by saying: “I’m really concerned with him and that’s why he’s been taken out of the training programme and the football programme so we can take him to the medics. His health and wellbeing are very important to us."

The boss confirmed defender George Taft also missed this evening’s game through illness, saying: "We’ve got Pughy, Thommo (Lewis Thompson), Taft, Beesty, Gallimore all missing as the list gets long. 

“The good thing is we’ve got some very good youth players who I am not afraid to play.”

Second year trainees Jack Moore-Billam and Ethan Young were named on the bench this evening, and talking about the youngsters intertwined with the senior team, Hill said: “I’ve got no fear of playing them. Especially if they train and show respect towards the training model we’re going with. 

“As long as they show a good attitude, I’ll always protect young players, or any player. But attitude reflects leadership, and I hope eventually we’ll get into this cycle where positive good attitudes turn good individual and collective performances into positive results.”

See much more reaction from Keith Hill and Tyrese Sinclair on iFollow Iron.

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