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Interviews

Hill updates as Iron prepare to visit Sutton

24 February 2022

First team manager Keith Hill has previewed the trip to take on Sutton United this weekend in an interview with iFollow Iron.

The Iron head to Gander Green Lane on Saturday seeking an important three points against the division's sixth-placed side, and Hill took encouragement from the performance in the 0-0 home draw with second-placed Northampton Town on Tuesday night.

He said: "I'm feeling optimistic on the back of a good performance, and encouraged by the players' progress fitness-wise. However, while we're working on our fitness we're losing players through injury, We had a serious injury the other night with Thommo (Lewis Thompson) and we still have players recovering from injury and illness. We're threadbare at the moment with respect to selecting a squad for the Sutton game, but with the starting eleven we're really encouraged with what's happening.

"We do a lot of planning and plan for the worse case scenario as well, and Covid is still of course a concern for us, especially when we're dealing with Alfie Beestin, who is suffering from long Covid potentially. He's seeing a specialist on Friday morning and hopefully we can get to the bottom of that and start building Alfie back up into the type of player he'd become fitness-wise that we saw in his last game prior to Covid, which was Hartlepool away.

"Along with one or two others, without giving too much information to the opposition, he's not going to be available for consideration this weekend. I don't think it's fair on Alfie for me to put any pressure on him to play when he's not good physically at this moment in time, and as a consequence of that isn't feeling too clever about himself with his confidence probably a little bit hit.

"Thommo is going to see a consultant but certainly after the game the outlook didn't look positive, and it looked a similar injury to Tom Pugh's (details of that here). I feel for him after just coming back from a long-term injury and making his first appearance since then."

Speaking about the midweek schedule now beginning to calm down and there being more space between matches, he added: "Hopefully that will help us. We have a lot of players who need rest and recovery as well as game time, and it's trying to strike the balance. We are not training at an intensity that would replicate pre-season and the needs of some of the players. We're trying to get the physical demands into the players from the game time they're getting, so hopefully when it goes from Saturday to Saturday fixtures we'll be able to get some real hard training time."

Hill concluded with thoughts on the opposition, saying: "Full respect for what they've done, how they got promoted and sustained the momentum. They're pushing hard for a promotion spot this season and are a strong, effective club who are now in the EFL.

"They're heading in the right direction in the pursuit of being a League One team. I see no reason why they can't gatecrash the shake-up come the end of the season, but it's a challenge we're going to take on and obviously they're the favourites but I believe we go there with the capabilities of causing an upset."

See much more from Keith Hill and Ryan Delaney on iFollow Iron.


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