Head Coach Stephen Crainey spoke to the press on Thursday afternoon ahead of his side’s Sky Bet League One clash against Shrewsbury Town at the Montgomery Waters Meadow.
Town have had two tough battles in their last couple of outings as they have drawn against both Plymouth Argyle and Cambridge United at Highbury Stadium. A last-minute goal from Anthony Pilkington earned the game against high-flying Argyle and it was a barnstorming strike from range by Paddy Lane which saw the points shared against The U’s.
Here's what Stephen had to say in his pre-match interview:
On Saturday’s opposition…
“We’ve got our own style of play and we know how we like to play football, but we know that you have to mix it in League One o earn the right to get the ball down and play so we certainly have to do that. If we show our quality on the ball, we have the ability to get more goals on the day and potentially take home the three points.
“The home game sticks in the back of my throat a bit because that’s the one and only game we’ve not been at it since I’ve taken over as we lacked a bit of intensity on the day, but we got to the bottom of it when we debriefed the game the next day so hopefully, we can put that wrong right on Saturday. We know it’s going to be tough, as they are a real physical side, as they showed on Boxing Day. We will be looking to stand up to them and look to win the game.
“Every game is three points regardless of where they are. I think we are stronger after the players we brought in with Zak [Jules], Toto [Nsiala], Ellis Harrison, Kieran [O’Hara], Dan [Butterworth], and Josh Harrop - we’ve made some good additions to the group. They’ve made us more physical and technical so we’ve got a good mix in the team as we can play when we get time to, and we can also mix it as we’ve shown in recent games.”
On the deadline day signings…
“Regarding Dan [Butterworth], we have been looking at him since the start of the window so to get that over the line was pleasing. He offers us something different in the top line, suits the philosophy and how I want to play, so hopefully, he can add that cutting edge in the final third.
“Dan is chomping at the bit, the last couple of games he’s got on for Blackburn, so the longer the saga went on, the more we thought the move wasn’t going to happen but, thankfully, on deadline day, it got over the line and we were delighted to get him in the club.
“With losing Billy [Crellin], we had to replace him, and we signed Kieran [O’Hara], so we are hoping for him to go into that slot and push Alex Cairns for that number one spot, and from what I’ve seen in the last couple of days, he certainly is a good goalkeeper. It gets the standards high if there is competition in positions all over the pitch and that’s what we’ve got at the moment.”
On his first transfer window…
“It was a bit manic to say the least, there was a lot going on with all of us constantly on the phone chasing things that might happen or might not happen so I’m just glad it’s all out the way to be honest so we can concentrate on the games ahead. We’ve got a settled squad now and know what we have in the building so we can hopefully get some results off the back end of the window.
“It was what I thought it would be; we had calls with the chairman and chief executive every day in January for recruitment calls, getting players in, and getting players out as well. Of the two players we lost on deadline day, Billy [Crellin] had a chance to go to a Premier League club and we’ve always maintained as a football club that if a Premier League club comes in, we won’t stand in the players’ way if the fee is right – it’s a great chance for Billy to go and express himself at Everton.
“I’ve worked with Jay [Matete] for a short time in the first-team, but I coached him in the Under-23s, and I knew that a move was coming for him sooner or later. I would have loved to have kept him because I love the kid, but we don’t want to stand in his way as it’s a great opportunity to go to Sunderland, who will be hoping to get into the Championship with the position they are in. All the best to him and we hope he kicks on again.”