Manager Keith Hill has been reflecting on the week, as well as looking ahead to Saturday’s encounter against Walsall, in his latest interview…
“The start of the season has been a tough test and I’m still very optimistic,” said Hill.
“I was really impressed by Barnsley on Tuesday night. Out of all the teams we’ve played, they have been the most impressive with respect to being the type of football team I’d like to watch.
“I would have no problem in playing Peterborough again, or anyone else that we’ve played, so the one real test for me was Barnsley. We’ve looked at things since we’ve played them and we realise how we failed.
“The players have to take the analysis on board and they have to see what we see so they can put it right and we’ve had a productive week.
“It’s still the early part of the season and we’re trying to win football matches. I think if we had been in trouble positional wise and points wise, then I think we might have approached the Barnsley game a little bit differently but we’re trying to win football matches the way that I want to play the game. That enthusiasm might have to be tempered as the season progresses, but we’re still in a position where we’ve got 42 games to play which is a lot of points.
“There’s still that energy and enthusiasm for it to be a good season and that optimism as well, but we will never, as a football club, be able to buy two players for £3 million pounds. There are a few clubs in our league that are similar to ourselves where they can’t really spend money on players and I think Walsall [Saturday’s opponent] is one of them.”
And Hill is pleased with the progress that’s been made.
“We’ve got to believe in this group of players. We want to show progress as a football club and we are showing progress, because this is our fifth season in League One which is progress for us. I think Walsall have spent 11 seasons in League One so they’ve shown that battling quality. I know under Dean Smith that they were progressively looking like they could get into the Championship. It has taken them a couple of seasons to rebuild/ reboot after Dean but they could be doing it again.
“We are a club who are progressing, but it doesn’t seem to be accepted that we’re progressing. We are a better squad than we were last season and that’s progression. Now, we have to turn that progression and everything we’ve done into points.
“I thought the courage we showed against Barnsley was there – we just forgot our brain a little bit. But we couldn’t ask for anymore from the players from a data perspective – distance ran, the high intensity and sprint distance – it’s as good as we’ve had over the last five seasons, so the players are definitely doing everything they possibly can. Now they’ve got to have the confidence to go out there and compete in a football sense as well as a physical sense.”
Saturday’s opponent, the Saddlers, head to the Crown Oil Arena unbeaten in their opening four league games, having won three and drawn the other.
“They’ve had a great start to the season. They were very similar to ourselves last season but they’ll grow. They’re looking for the perfect formula, and sometimes it happens overnight because players find themselves. You’ve got to plough on and you’ve got to strive for success. If you carry on striving for it, then you eventually achieve it. They’ve had a good start to the season and it’ll be a test for us this weekend, but one we’re looking forward to.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow.