Assistant head coach Steven Whittaker spoke to the press on Thursday afternoon ahead of Fleetwood Town’s initial trip to Pride Park to take on Derby County at the weekend.
Town faced off against the Rams at home and picked up a point, much like the Cods’ last outing which ended in a 1-1 draw against Port Vale, so they will be looking to go one better than on Saturday and bring home all three points from their maiden voyage to Derbyshire.
Here’s what Steven had to say ahead of the game:
On playing the bigger sides away from home…
“If you look at the top end of the league, there are some big clubs in here and to be fair to the boys, when we’ve gone to these stadiums, we’ve performed well and picked up some valuable points along the way. We shouldn’t have any fears as we know we can put on a performance that can, hopefully, bring us the points back home.
“I think, maybe, the lads get a lift from the challenge as we all know that motivation is massive in this sport. If they are motivated by perhaps playing against a better calibre of player, bigger stadiums, or bigger crowds, we know that it’s great for us as we know that they can stand up in those situations and they have done so multiple times already.
“The aim is to be consistent across the season and that will push you up the league. We know we’ve been sloppy here and there, but the lads have gone to places like Plymouth and Ipswich away and picked up points as well as taking home all three against Peterborough so we have done well away from home, so let’s hope that can continue Saturday.”
On the work rate and ambitions for the rest of the season…
“Every team has patches throughout the season so it’s all about minimising those games and staying on top of the players. If you are in a rough patch, it’s all about responding and I feel like the boys have given us 100 per cent across all the matches and it shows that we've been in every game and that’s the reason why they’re a great group to work with.
“We’ve been up to 11th at one point so that would be the aim, we want to finish as high as possible. There are a lot of teams around us on near enough the same points so we would like to finish on top of that group if we can, we will keep pushing and will try to pick up points along the way in these last 10 games – we’re not going to ease up, we want to finish as high as possible.”
On bringing Marriott and Stockley into the side…
“Jack [Marriott] and Jayden [Stockley] hadn’t played a lot of minutes when they came in, so it was hard for them to hit the ground running. They have to get back up to speed through training days and, with the hectic schedule over the last month, we didn’t have many training days that we could get the group together and play a lot of football.
“It’s been a hard start for them, we’ve tried our best with individual stuff, but it’s not the same as training with the team and getting out there – that will change now as we’ve managed to get a good session into them this morning.
“Jayden got his first goal on his debut and it’s good now that Jack’s got over the line and has a goal to his name as that pressure I off him now so he can just enjoy his football now and he can get more in the games to come.”