We caught up with Manager Keith Hill at the end of last week, ahead of Tuesday night’s League One fixture v AFC Wimbledon at the Crown Oil Arena…
The match is the first of 14 games between now and the end of the season.
“I went watching AFC Wimbledon’s game against Walsall on Tuesday evening, and it just shows you the pressures that football brings,” said Hill.
“It was brilliant to be sat in the stands, listening, watching and observing, looking at how people respond to pressure, and it’s not always good.
“There’s this common idea that if you’re bottom of the league then teams should be beating them, which I think AFC Wimbledon used to their advantage the other night against Walsall. The FA Cup experience has galvanized them under a new management and they had a spring in their step going into the weekend’s fixture against Millwall. I was impressed with what I saw on Tuesday night.”
He continued: “It’s 14 games that the players will be able to express themselves in.
“The psychology going into the last 14 games of the season should be to express yourself, with no fear and to go and enjoy the opportunities of a game football, and that’s what we’re going to go with, like we did last season.
“You’ve got to plan for the future, which is the next game, but to plan for how good the opponents are, is very difficult. Sometimes, you’ve just got to admit that the opponents could be better than you. You’ve got to try everything you possibly can to get as many points out of every game, regardless of the opposition, whether it was Tottenham last year in the FA Cup, or whether it’s AFC Wimbledon.
“We’re trying to sustain our League One status and Tuesday night is another opportunity for my group of players. We’ve got seven at home and seven away now and we’ve got to make sure our home form improves. Last Saturday against Coventry, we seemed to be a little bit reluctant and I wasn’t really expecting that, because away from home I think we’ve stepped on, looked appetising and had no fear.
“We’ve got to make sure we express ourselves at home so that those results come, and it’s important that we share some of our away performances and what we’re doing on the training pitch with our supporters, so that they believe that we are good enough as well, because generally we are good enough to stay up.”
He added: “The players are fighting and they are definitely giving everything effort-wise. They’ve just got to make sure that they make better decisions, because one minor decision went against us against Coventry and that’s the way football goes sometimes. Generally, I feel as though we’re in better shape, so I’m looking forward to the final 14 games and the players are, too.
“The football world keeps telling me that we’re a League Two football Club. If I say nothing now and leave you with that, I think everybody realises what we have been. We’re always fighting and fighting to retain our League One status because we generally believe that, as a Football Club, a group of staff, players, supporters, that this is where we belong and we want to stay there, it’s a simple as that.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow.