Head Coach Stephen Crainey spoke to the media ahead of his side’s Sky Bet League One clash against Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Cods have had two weeks on the training pitch after both their games against Lincoln City and Sheffield Wednesday were called off due to weather and stadium issues so all the players will be chomping at the bit to get back on the pitch this weekend when the side travel down south to play Pompey.
Here’s what Stephen said ahead of the clash:
On Saturday’s opposition…
“When you get a defeat in football, you want to get into the next game as quick as possible and, unfortunately, we’ve had to wait two weeks for that. The positive is we’ve had time to get a lot of detail into the group during training and we’ve prepared the best we can so we’re looking to go down there and put on a good show against Portsmouth.
“We know it’s going to be a tough game as they are a tough side, with a big budget as well, but we’re going to go there and be competitive, and will be looking to get all three points in the game. I’m looking forward to Saturday as the lads have got a lot of good energy to burn, we are hoping that turns into a positive result for us.
“They’re a good side and have quality players, but we feel like we can hurt them in certain areas at the same time. I’ve always said that there’s not much in League One and if you manage to turn up on the day, you’ve got half a chance in a game and that’s what we are going to be doing on Saturday.”
On the squad’s overall fitness…
“With the schedule that’s coming up, we are going to need everyone in the squad as we’ve got a lot of midweek games, adding onto that the recent rescheduled ones as well, it’s going to be a busy schedule – we are going to need every single player. We are wanting to get players back from injury, but everyone is ready and looking forward to the schedule we’ve got coming.
“The only player who could be in contention of coming back is Joe Garner as he has been training with the group all week so it would be nice to get him back involved but we are hoping that we can get more back in the coming weeks. Joe has worked hard in the gym to get his shoulder strong; he’s looked good in training so it would be nice to have him back as an option to get on the pitch – the more players we get back, the better it will be for me.
“We’ve got good options now, but the more the better. Over the next two or three weeks, we are hoping to get more back so we’ve got more competition for places in the squad because that’s what I want as a manager. The last two games have been cancelled so it’s been nice to get some detail into the lads on the training ground and hopefully we are going to be fresh going into the game on Saturday.”
On the recent match cancellations…
“Obviously, your plans get disrupted and you’ve got to adapt to these certain things and that’s what we’ve done. Even with the snow that came ahead of the Lincoln [City] match, you couldn’t write that – it’s the most snow we’ve had in a long while on the coast, so we didn’t expect that. Unfortunately, that meant we had to cancel that game.
“The wind and rain then affected the stadium before the Sheffield [Wednesday] game so that had to be cancelled as well for safety reasons. I’m assuming the stadium will be okay, but time will tell in that sense, so I’ll just leave that to the hierarchy to get that sorted so I can focus on what we need to do on the pitch.
“Me and Barry Nicholson went down to Shrewsbury to watch Portsmouth after our game on Tuesday got cancelled. When one game gets cancelled, you turn your focus straight onto the next game and that’s what we did when the Sheffield Wednesday postponement happened. We’ve had a lot of time on the training pitch, preparing for Portsmouth, and hopefully, we can make a good account of ourselves.”