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Hill looking forward ahead of Walsall home encounter

7 February 2022

First team manager Keith Hill has previewed the home game against Walsall on Tuesday night (7.45pm kick-off) as his side look to pick up an important three points against the Saddlers.

The boss was in upbeat mood on Monday morning as he and his side look to shake off the disappointment of defeat to Oldham Athletic on Saturday, in a game which saw seven players make their first home start.

"I believe we've got the nucleus of a good team. Now we need to marry it all together, gel quickly and put it into performances, and performances will hopefully yield results," he told iFollow Iron.

"It would be nice to get everyone up to speed quickly, but it's difficult, especially if you bring people in during the January window. I make no excuses, the team has to represent the values of the supporters, which is hard work and intensity. They must be good in and out of possession, and that's the basis of a good side.

"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand that we need to score more goals. We are looking for more of an attacking threat and sustainability in the final third.

"Time is a commodity in football that isn't understood or accepted, and I get it 100 per cent because I'm as frustrated as anyone, and the players are frustrated. We've got to bare in mind that the players are the ones who have to go out there, try and perform to turn our form around.

"I was a little bit despondent after the game because it meant so much to the supporters, who had turned out in their numbers.

"On Sunday morning I was reflective too, but again I've taken up the challenge of trying to turn the fortunes of this football club around and I'm 100 per cent fully charged, ready to go again for Tuesday night.

"The mentality though has got to be to fight. We have to maintain our fighting courage to turn around our fortunes.

"The supporters are the lifeblood of every football club and they've been absolutely superb with me since I came into this football club. I'm here to pick up the challenges the club offer and my aim is to represent those supporters, turn the form around and make sure we're very successful.

"I know they will support the players, because they do need it irrespective of whether it's Harry Lewis or Anthony Grant. To my knowledge, every single one of them has supported those players."

He added: "I'm looking forward to the challenges we have ahead. As hard as they are now, there's always a ray of sun to look forward to and we'll definitely turn the form around, hopefully starting with Walsall on Tuesday night.

"It's a difficult opponent irrespective of the form they're in (Walsall have lost six in a row themselves). We have to challenge our own psychology and make sure we come out not just determined but with a real personality and desire to step on the front foot and take the game to the opponents."

On-loan striker Sam Burns wasn't risked on Saturday as the data suggested he was at risk of injury after playing three first team games in a week as he transitions from Under-23s football with Blackburn Rovers to the cut and thrust of League Two, but he will be looked at again prior to the visit of the Saddlers.

Hill said: "I certainly hope he'll be available and we will assess him and evaluate his availability today. It's important we don't overuse him, but we have 17 big games coming up and we need him available for as long as possible."

See much more from Keith Hill on iFollow Iron.

Photo: Dan Westwell.


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