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Interviews

Hill reacts to transfer movement and previews Port Vale away

28 January 2022

First team manager Keith Hill has provided his reaction to the signing of midfielder Liam Feeney and the departure of Harry Davis, while previewing the trip to take on Port Vale this Saturday.

Feeney, 35, signed from Tranmere Rovers on Wednesday and provides a wealth of knowledge, having played 600 games and experiencing a number of seasons at Championship level.

He played under Hill at Prenton Park last season, and the boss told iFollow Iron: "He's certainly got experience and puts his knowledge into action, while he still has a hunger, desire and determination to make a real positive impact on the younger players. It's important to bring players like him into the football club.

"Not only that, but what was important was the fact that he did want to come. He could have stayed at Tranmere and picked up a promotion medal, but I'm really pleased we have that calibre of player coming into the club.

"It shows a massive desire to continue to want to play, and that's big for me. That's what's been evident when I spoke with him about the possibility of coming here. I worked with him at Tranmere last season and he's an outstanding provider of opportunities.

"He's the type of calibre of player that we should be attracting to this football club. He's going to educate, and help pass on my message and the way I want to play in and out of possession, and I think he's a good example of what you can achieve in the game.

"I remember when he started at Bournemouth and the journey that he's been on, playing for some big clubs but he continues to want to play football and is driven by a desire to play the game. He's come here to help, educate and provide performances. It's a great signing."

Skipper Davis departs after 17 appearances so far this term, with Hill adding: "I'm pleased for the player. It's something that he wanted to do. I won't push any players out of the football club but I do need outs so I can get the players in.

"I'm trying to build my own squad and improve. It was a chance for him to be closer to home as well, and work with Jim (Bentley, Fylde manager) who he has previously worked with. He's an outstanding professional and I wish him all the best in his pursuit of success at Fylde."

On the prospect of further additions before the weekend, he continued: "We're governed by the embargo and the possibility of getting players out as well as in. We're trying to improve the squad all the time to improve our opportunities to win football matches. As a manager you're only as good as the players you can select from, and I believe we need to have a better pool of players to choose from in order for us to win games more frequently. It's mine and the staff's pursuit to improve the squad of players we have."

Previewing the trip to take on Port Vale, who have led the way near the top of the division for much of the season so far but presently find themselves 10th after a run of four games without a win, he said: "We've got to go with honesty and be humble. We have to respect the opponents. We're going there to try and win the game, or otherwise we may as well sit at home and accept our fate. We're looking forward to it and we've got to be brave.

"With respect to the opposition, they were my outstanding favourites to get promoted at the beginning of the season, purely because of the recruitment drive they went on and they have a real methodology in the way they want to play. Their recruitment and structure behind the scenes is all driven towards success, but on that road there are little bumps where you don't have positive results and have to reset quickly.

"We're going there and we have to be in a confident, bullish mood and look to upset the apple cart because they are in my mind still one of the favourites for promotion."

Updating on injuries, he confirmed Mason O'Malley won't be available this weekend after coming off at half-time against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday.

He added: "Mason is not going to be available for the weekend. He's got a hamstring problem, but I've got to say I'm really proud of the way Mason has handled himself since I've been at the club. He's learning on the job and has probably played too much football in truth.

"We're not in a great situation fighting against relegation and every game that we've been going into has been very difficult for the young players, so physically and psychologically it's been an overload for him. But it's something he'll definitely learn from as he has a great character, and he's someone I'm really looking to working with in the future."

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


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