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Whittaker: We’re looking to bounce back on Saturday

24 August 2023

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Assistant head coach Steven Whittaker spoke to the media on Thursday afternoon ahead of Fleetwood Town’s upcoming Sky Bet League One fixture against Shrewsbury Town at Highbury.

After results haven’t matched good performances in the last few games, the Cods are chasing their first three points of the season and will be looking to get the win on Saturday afternoon when the Shrews come to town.

Comparing the two sides from their last outings, it was a narrow 1-0 loss to Derby County for Fleetwood, with Shrewsbury seeing the same scoreline as they fell to defeat against Lincoln, so both sides will be looking to rectify those results.

Here’s what Steven had to say ahead of the game:

On going into the game at the weekend…

“We aren’t far away, the last couple of performances are more what we’re looking for, but we’ve switched off in some vital times and have been punished for it. We’re looking to bounce back on Saturday and, hopefully, kickstart our season with a home win. I want to win every game and I’m sure the players are no different.

“We don’t go into games thinking we aren’t capable of beating anyone in this league, we’ve shown that we’re capable. Each game is an individual one and are each valued as three points on the day. We just need to do our jobs the best we can so the players are ready to go and perform – take each game as it comes and the points will come.

“I’m expecting a reaction and I’m hoping we can up our levels going into the next game; we want to pride ourselves in our home performances and the stat you just gave me (one loss in the last 10 at home before Cambridge) and make it a hard place to come. The players know this, so we need to go and pick up some points at Highbury.”

On injuries and illnesses in the camp…

“We’re still lacking in numbers up top; we’ve assessed them this week and a few have had some minutes in training so we’re just trying to put them in the best position that we can before the weekend so we can see who’s available.

“There are still a couple of days for prep, so we’ll see how they are after the session this morning and reassess tomorrow. We’ve had a few illnesses in the camp, which isn’t ideal because you put the work into them in pre-season so then it’s a bit stop-start.

“Some others have picked up niggly injuries as well, which might put them out for four or five days so they may miss a game or a bit of training – it’s just about trying to keep as many up to speed as we can. Hopefully, we can clear this out of the squad so we can get everyone in a good place and start picking up some better results.”

On having a free week and confidence in the squad…

“There are positives and negatives to not having a midweek, sometimes you just want another game to put things right, as it’s another opportunity on the board to climb up the league. The players are ready as we’ve done a bit of work on the grass this week, which is good, and we know what we’ve got to do on the last day of prep ahead of Saturday.

“There’s no formula for confidence, I think it's about doing the right things, working hard, and having good habits in your preparation to give yourself the best chance to perform. It’s down to them in the game to feel themselves, hopefully, have a good positive start, and then carry on through the 90 minutes – it’s down to mentality when the games come up.

“We’re still a young staff and are learning as we go – we’ve been there as players so we can try and coach them through it. You’re going to come up against a poor fun of form at times and it’s about how you deal with that. I feel you learn more about the characters of the players during runs like that than you do when you’re winning as that is when confidence is high.”

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