Following on from Tuesday night’s excellent victory over Coventry City, the Reds face another tough challenge away at promotion-chasing Walsall this weekend, which Caretaker Head Coach Paul Heckingbottom gave his thoughts on.
Sam Winnall and Lloyd Isgrove both came off at half-time against The Sky Blues, with defender James Bree being withdrawn late on, and Heckingbottom gave an update on their injury status.
“They’re going to be assessed today.” Explained Heckingbottom. “The problem with Sam is that he carried on and he’s got swelling on his ankle, so until we can get that down we won’t know the extent of it.
“James Bree has a hamstring strain, you could see straight away when he pulled up, but luckily we got him straight off the pitch.”
The Reds are currently on a run of ten wins in 12 games, which has propelled us to level on points with a play-off position, and Heckingbottom was keen to give a sense of how it’s happened.
He said, “Everyone’s spirits are high. They put in another good performance on Tuesday and gave everything on the pitch. Now we’re getting them ready and sharp for Saturday.
“There’s a winning mentality. The players want it, the fans want it, the owner wants it and the town wants it. It’s good when you’re out and about and everyone is speaking about the football club again in the right way.
“It’s been down to the hard work of the players and the performances they’ve put in. The fans have played their part as well, everyone has a part to play driving us forward and the more fans we get at home games, the better atmosphere we can create and the longer this run will hopefully continue.”
Moving on to this weekend’s match against Walsall, Heckingbottom wanted to keep everyone focused and taking one game at a time.
“They’re up there on merit.” He stated. “If you’re up there now you’re a good side, and they’ve earnt the right to be there. They like to play good football and they’ve been good defensively as well. We know going there will be a tough game, just like they all have been of recent times so we’ve got to rise to it and take it head on, trying to impose ourselves.
“They’ll be thinking the same and looking at us, looking how we’ve been playing and finding ways to combat us. Playing football is a big part of their game, we need to be patient when they have the ball and show the same discipline and organisation that we have been showing in recent weeks, and likewise that is a strength of ours.
“I’m a massive believer that if the opposition has the ball you have to be comfortable in your role and not panic and understand as soon as you do win the ball, you’re in control and work out how to hurt them.
“We’ve probably raised eyebrows because we’ve been playing opposition teams that are in front of us and we’re now level on points with Coventry so it seems a bigger significance, but to us it’s not. It’s just another three points.
“It’s the same with Walsall on Saturday, we’re both playing for three points. We can’t win any more than that so we need to keep the mind-set that it’s just another game and approach it in a professional manner.
“We’re going to go there and give everything. If we do that, and carry out the game plan."
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