Head coach Scott Brown spoke to the local media on Thursday afternoon ahead of this weekend’s Sky Bet League One opener against Carlisle United at Brunton Park.
The Cods have enjoyed a jam-packed pre-season over the last month, with positive results coming throughout in terms of clean sheets and wins, but the real work starts this Saturday when they head further north to face the Cumbrians on their home turf.
Brown will be familiar with the front line at Carlisle, with former Cods Joe Garner and Ryan Edmondson leading the line, so he knows it will be a tough ask on the first day of the season, especially against a side that achieved promotion last time out.
Here’s what the gaffer had to say in his pre-match interview:
On Saturday’s opposition and the league as a whole…
“Carlisle are an honest team, they’ve got some great players and they are going to work hard. We know it’s going to be a hard game because they’ve got energy throughout, and we know a few of their players including Joe Garner who was here before he helped them get promoted. We just need to make sure we are on our A-game from this point onwards.
“The staff here know the league inside and out, it was new to me and Steven [Whittaker], but now we know the teams, so we need to keep on doing our searches on how each team plays and that starts against Carlisle on Saturday. They’ll want to go and show their home fans why they got promoted and why they deserve to stay in League One.
“Most of the teams that have done well in this league have been solid from set-plays and have been hard to play against as well so I think we have to get better at doing some of the horrible stuff and that includes defending in the box, putting your body on the line, and making sure that we hold on to our leads late on in games.”
On the new signings fighting for places…
“The two of them – Danny Mayor and Ryan Broom – are calm on the ball. Danny has got fantastic vision and wants to drive forwards with the ball, wants to create opportunities for others, and does a lot of the unselfish stuff that a lot of people don’t normally see.
“Broomy has got brilliant energy as he wants to burst into the box and score some goals, so both are a good balance. They are going to have to fight for places, but that is what this football club is all about, as it’s all about making sure we’ve got a good enough squad to play at our best Saturday-Tuesday.
“We’ve learned from last season that we can’t continuously use the same 11 bodies week in-week out as the lads died a death after a few games. There will be changes this season and that's why we want to make sure we’ve got a better squad than we did last season - we want a better start than we did last season.”
On how pre-season will benefit the lads going forwards…
“We’ve put a lot into pre-season; the lads have been exceptional from start to finish as they’ve tried to understand how we want to play, press, and how we want them to lock out teams as well. It has also been about wanting to train every day, wanting to get fitter than we were last season, and knowing how we can push on from there.
“We’ve worked a lot on chopping and changing formations so for us, it’s all about everyone knowing their jobs when we’ve got the ball, and when we are defending. We want to be better than last season, you always want your stats to be better but, is that possible, probably not.”