Manager Lee Johnson sat down on Friday afternoon and previewed his side’s Emirates FA Cup clash against Kidderminster Harriers away from home at Aggborough Stadium.
It's set to be a busy week for The Cods as they have three games between now and next Saturday, with the FA Cup clash against The Harriers coming up first at the weekend. Johnson is hoping that the players can go one better than they did in the derby clash against Blackpool on Wednesday as they head three hours down south.
Here’s what the gaffer had to say in his pre-match interview:
On what to expect from The Harriers on Sunday…
“We know the individuals in their side have experience, they’ve got that bit of quality as well as they have a young boy who was released from Man City who is a decent dribbler, they’ve got Amari Morgan-Smith up front, and have a few good footballing players in the middle who can dictate the play from their positions.
“Like all games, it’s up to us to impose our threat on to them as much as possible. They will have spells, in which case we have to defend, maybe not as many as the likes of Blackpool, but they are direct in the way they play and always chase those second balls as they feed off the energy from that.
“Although I think it’s a game that we will potentially control in terms of possession, it is an FA Cup tie in a tight stadium which has a nice pitch which, hopefully, will play in our favour. But you have to take every team and consider every element of their strengths and weaknesses, we need to formulate a plan to help us win the game.”
On maintaining fitness levels through a busy period…
“We aren’t too bad with contact injuries, I think it’s just about recovery and getting the right nutrition into them and for them to get the right amount of sleep, but then flipping it quickly enough that when it comes to Sunday, we enter that game with real sharpness and a mental focus because it was a big game for us on Wednesday.
“This game is just as important to us as the Blackpool game and that is why we need to get these messages across. I’ve got to trust the eleven that I’m putting out there are full of that energy, not just on a physical level, but also on a mental level.
“You look at the physical data, the GPS, heart rates, and all that and it becomes quite scientific. It probably shouldn’t because you can normally battle on and churn it out, but energy is such an important part of the way we play.”
On how important managing games is this week…
“It’s about winning the cup tie on Sunday as it’s important for the club, as it always is, we’ve got the delicate balance of having two games in just over two days and that is difficult with what we have, and what we haven’t, got and we want to progress in both competitions, we do – we went on a really good run last year and we want to try and replicate that this year.
“With the squad, you’ve got to remember the lead up to the game in terms of the games we’ve had and the individuals that have played those games so, even at this point now, I’m still gathering information so if I was the Kidderminster manager, I wouldn’t be worried about us at this stage because even I haven’t picked the team.
“There are conversations to be had, not just with the players themselves but also the physio, we need to get the balance in this game to deal with the threat of the opposition, but also carry a threat in our way and make sure we leave no stone unturned in terms of the research.”