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Crainey: I want the same focus every game and Saturday is no different

17 February 2022

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Head Coach Stephen Crainey spoke to the press ahead of his side’s Sky Bet League One clash against Lincoln City at Highbury on Saturday afternoon.

Town are currently four games unbeaten at home, with the last result being a 1-1 draw against Milton Keynes Dons, with Paddy Lane netting his fourth of the season to see the points shared on the day. Crainey and the lads will be looking to go one better at the weekend when they welcome the Imps to the Fylde Coast.

Here’s what Stephen had to say in his interview:

On Saturday’s opposition…

“It is going to be a really tough game, Lincoln are an expansive side but it’s a challenge that we are looking forward to and, hopefully, we can come away with the win in the end. We are where we are in the league and we need to focus on climbing up the league which I know we will.

“We treat every game the same, you’ll be sick of hearing the same answer off me, but that’s who I am. I don’t want to get carried away by saying ‘we have to beat this team because they are close to us’ and ‘we need to beat that team because of this’ as I don’t want that mentality. I want us to focus on every game as if it was the same and Saturday is no different so may the best team win.

“There are no excuses in terms of the pitch; at the end of the day, it’s 11v11 and whoever plays the better football will win the game and we want that to be us. Against MK Dons the other week, the pitch wasn’t great but listen, it is what it is like a lot of pitches up and down the country are in the same boat. We’ll prepare a team that will play the pitch, play the game, and the occasion, and hopefully, we can win the game.”

On the fans at Highbury…

“The home fans have been outstanding for us, we’ve gone behind in games and have been able to come back, and we also got the last-minute winner against Rotherham [United] as well, so for those reasons, you can see the fans have gotten behind us. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think we’d have got the winner on that day. They played a massive part and hopefully, they can do the same on Saturday.

“The fans are going to be key for us at all home games as they have been different class since day one. We want them to maintain those vocal cords on Saturday and I’m sure they will, so we are really looking forward to it as we are wanting to put a performance together on the pitch to show them, we are working hard in getting the three points. I’ve mentioned it before, but the fans will play a massive part as we are hoping they can get us over the line.”

On bouncing back from last weekend…

“Like anything in life, you have off days and last Saturday was one for us. It wasn’t through lack of effort; it was a yard short in every department and we are hoping to correct that this weekend. We don’t want that to happen again, it wasn’t intentional, but we want to put it right starting with the game on Saturday against Lincoln.

“For me, it’s how we bounce back from last game, and I think that will be key on Saturday. Those games have been few and far between since I took over to be honest, so I’m just hoping that it was a one-off and I’m sure it will be. The lads have been consistent in their hunger and desire, and I don’t think that will stop. As I said, I thought we had that against Cheltenham, but we were a yard short in every department so hopefully, we can put a wrong right this weekend.

“The players have been top draw since I’ve come in and training this week has been no different. The application has been good so we are hoping to back a solid week up with a performance on Saturday, which will merit three points.”

Giving a squad update…

“I think Batts [Dan Batty] is going to miss this weekend, unfortunately, but we’ve got a squad that is able to deal with it and it’s going to give somebody else a chance to come in and play. We’ve got a good squad; Dan will be a big miss, but we’ve got players to come and fill that role.

“Joe Garner is still on the grass and he’s getting up to speed so hopefully he’s going to be back sooner rather than later – that’s going to be positive once he’s back available for the squad.

“As a manager, I want as many options as I can, but we are all focused on Saturday with the group that we’ve got and we are hoping that in the coming weeks, we can get a few more players back, but they aren’t available now so we will go with the squad we’ve got for the weekend and I’m sure they will be good enough to get three points.”

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