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Hill looks ahead to Harrogate at home

24 March 2022

First team manager Keith Hill has previewed United's home game against Harrogate Town this Saturday (3pm kick-off), as he returns from the illness that forced him to miss last weekend's away game at Salford City.

He told iFollow Iron: "It was very difficult (to miss the game). Over the course of my management career I've only missed three matches. It's not often that I'm ill.

"I was disappointed and a little upset to miss it, as it was difficult not being there to support the players on the matchday.

"It was tough all around but I'm fully recovered, full of energy again and obviously 100 per cent committed to the cause as always. I'm now looking forward to the weekend's fixture.

"Macca (coach Tony McMahon) and Mussy (goalkeeping coach Paul Musselwhite) took over, but it was a difficult day and watch for them when you consider the end result.

"Looking back at the game, there were far too many basic errors when especially in the first-half there was nothing between the sides, except for the mistakes that were made. Salford capitalised on our mistakes and that's been indicative of the season so far.

"Sometimes it's too easy for the opposition to score against us. They certainly in my opinion should be working far harder to take anything away from us, and that's something we have to be mindful of."

Hill continued with an update on the squad, saying: "From an injury perspective, we've had a little bit of illness in the camp and that's why I felt it was important I stayed away at the weekend.

"We've had one or two players miss training through illness too so we decided to clean the environment up from the possibility of passing infection on, coming in later on in the week and making sure we have a good preparation into the game coming up on Saturday.

"I'm trying to stabilise and work with consistency. Unfortunately the only consistency we've got is the inconsistent nature of individuals, units, teams, results and performances. It's been very difficult for me, the rest of the staff and equally difficult for the players, supporters, the chairman and board of directors. It's been frustrating and you want positive continuity irrespective of who you play against.

"Harrogate came up into the Football League last season and have adapted superbly well, but the challenges for me are not about the opposition, but about putting down key fundamentals of the way we want to work going forward. There are plans in place for the future of the football club.

"We're planning pre-season, the return dates, a training camp and specifically what I want to work on with the training sessions, as well as recruitment and retaining.

"We're working on plans for the future but I want to see consistency to the values of the way I want to play the game in and out of possession.

"It's been very frustrating for a lot of people but these last eight games are opportunities to give something back to the supporters, because they've been through a lot of hard times.

"It's important the players accept that responsibility. What we don't want to see is similar types of results/performances that we saw last week. That's why it was extremely difficult for me not to be there, because you want to be there not just when times are good but in times when your team needs you.

"The fact I wasn't there created rumours. I was getting phone calls asking 'what's happened, have you resigned, have you been sacked?', which was just typical of the rumour mill and that wasn't the case.

"I've been making plans for the future of the football club, but the immediate future is the next game. We've got to try and do our best to be better than we have been during the majority of this season."

Hill concluded with an update on Mason O'Malley, who came off with a hamstring injury in the last home game against Barrow.

He said: "It's been difficult because you want that continuity, and we haven't been able to get that in the left-back position, and it's the same with respect to partnerships all over the pitch. It's been difficult for me, the players and the staff but it's something we have to try and get right, and that comes down to the planning in pre-season.

"With respect to Mase, he has to make himself robust and can't keep breaking down whenever he steps onto the football pitch. The key indication of that will be pre-season, but he won't be fit for the weekend and I'm not too sure when he will be available because he's not been on the training pitch."

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

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