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Interviews

Whittaker: There is no doubt that it will be a tough game

6 October 2022

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Assistant head coach Steven Whittaker spoke to the media ahead of Fleetwood Town’s trip down south to face Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Saturday afternoon.

Whittaker, alongside head coach Scott Brown, has seen the Cods come away with maximum points from their last two away league clashes against Peterborough United and Burton Albion respectively and will be hoping they can continue that form as they travel to Hampshire for a clash against Pompey.

Here’s what Steven had to say in his pre-match interview:

On the threat that Portsmouth poses…

“I think the stats tell you a lot about them [Portsmouth], they are a high-energy team that scores a lot of goals and can score goals from set plays so there are different challenges in the match that we are going to face. We’ll prepare the boys the best we can and hopefully, we can stand up to it and push our game onto them and give them something to think about.

“There is no doubt that it will be a tough game, but the good thing about matches from our point of view this season is that we’ve been in every game no matter who it has been against, whether that be home or away, so we are hoping that the game on Saturday will be no different.

“It’ll be a challenge; we know there are big teams in this league, some expected to be near the top, and some near the bottom, but we’ve had some results against Plymouth and Derby, who are expected to be up there. We beat Peterborough as well so there’s no reason for us to fear anything, we need to go into the game with a plan as we know the boys will buy into it, whatever we go with.”

On the recent away form and the Burton reaction…

“It’s good to go away from home and win so we’ve got a feel-good factor having done that the last two games. Portsmouth is going to be a tough game, there is no doubt about that, but two clean sheets when you travel away is good for this league – we are in a good place, and we just need to continue this run of form.

“We asked for a reaction from Barnsley game, there wasn’t much in the game, but we felt that we should have done more in the attacking areas by committing more men in the box to allow us to create more chances and give us a better chance of winning the game - we did a little bit of work on that going into the game and I think it showed.

“We’ve got to make sure that we don’t switch off at the back whilst attacking and put ourselves in the right positions to maintain attacks when the ball is cleared so we went through some videos and a little bit on the pitch today and I think we were better at it on Tuesday. We just need to keep maintaining that, remember how we got our joy against Burton, and take that into Saturday.”

On the influence of Jay Lynch between the sticks…

“Jay [Lynch] has been unbelievable since he came in; he’s professional, trains right, looks after himself, and had got great ability with his feet which fits the way that we want to play. He can build from the back, pick the right moments, and can play short so he’s done well by coming up with some brilliant saves that have earned us points.

“He’s been spot on so there’s been no complaints, we know the levels he can get to. With the way we want to play with the ball, there is a calmness about him, and you can trust that he’s going to make the right choice as he has that kind of distribution where he can put it into areas for us which can allow us to get up the park a little bit quicker.”

On how the side can turn draws into wins…

“The main thing is consistency; we know every player we’ve got can come in and create and play well. The demands of doing that week in, week out especially when it's Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday, the physical and mental challenge that it brings is down to the individual who needs to rise above it and keep performing at a level that allows us to pick up points.

“The players reacted well and could have scored a few more goals, which was probably the only downside from Tuesday evening, but we left there with three points, and we can take some momentum going into Saturday’s game against Portsmouth. We’ve got the players that can get us there and finish moves off so hopefully, it can all come together in the next game.

“We need to look after the ball a bit better in the final third and need to work on getting the ball up to that point as well. We’re continuously working on that, the boys are getting better at it as we showed on Tuesday, and it’s just about picking the right moments and fine-tuning those small details that will help us create more chances.”


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