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Hill talks as United get ready to visit Salford

17 March 2022

First team manager Keith Hill has previewed the trip to Salford City this Saturday.

Talking to iFollow Iron, the boss is looking forward to pitting his wits against Gary Bowyer's side as United look for as many points and positives as possible in the final nine games of the campaign.

He said: "Gary won't like me saying it but they're big spenders in the league, and you just have to look at their recruitment and the fact they managed to get Matt Smith (in January from Championship side Millwall). It shows their intention for me.

"I expected them to be contenders for the top three but they just haven't quite got there at this moment in time. I believe they're still capable of a run.

"We've got to be competitive, are looking forward to the trip and I'm looking forward to seeing my group of players learn again from the experiences they're going through. It will battle harden the players for future league campaigns. I'm looking forward to the game and seeing the players express themselves against tough opposition.

"I'm looking for courage and a responsibility in adversity. In some of the games we're playing, we have to deal with all the stresses that football can offer, but the players and the football club will come out of it stronger."

Following the dismissals of Luke Matheson and Anthony Grant in the first half of the last two home matches against Colchester United and Barrow, Hill's side have had to battle on with ten men for the majority of the last two games.

He said: "It's more mental work and the mental capabilities of dealing with that negativity with respect to being a man down and the psychology is very different. In both games we set our stall out to defend our own half of the pitch, but I don't think we did that quite as well as we should do the other night.

"To be fair to the players though, they never gave up and tried to finish the game strongly, looking to salvage a point from the match.

"I'm pretty pleased with the response from the players physically and mentally to the situations we found ourselves in during the last two games, with first half sendings off.

"It's difficult for the players, but they have to fight and fight harder, and try to salvage some respect from the game. I felt they had done in both. The supporters stuck with the players and the players stuck to task."

Updating on injuries ahead of the trip to Salford, he concluded: "We have one or two niggles and fatigue situations. Obviously Anthony Grant is suspended now for three games but we do get Luke Matheson back.

"We don't have an update on Mason (O'Malley, who came off with a hamstring injury on Tuesday) yet, and wouldn't expect one so close after the final whistle, but we're hopeful he'll recover in time to at least make more appearances between now and the end of the season."

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


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