Bounce Back

In the wake of the Burton defeat, Jack Ross has admitted that we were not physically strong enough to handle the opposition. This has been the case on a few occasions this season, but against the likes of Wimbledon we got away with it, on Saturday we didn’t. Ross said: “I would be entirely honest with you if I thought there were any players in there that believed they had the divine right to be successful in this league and the divine right to come to Burton and win. I said to them at the end of the game, I don’t think there is that but you have to have that mental and physical synergy and I think at the moment mentally we’ve got the right approach. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that, but I think physically we’ve not. I think physically we’re wilting in that opening period. I don’t think we’re preparing ourselves for contact enough and preparing ourselves to use our bodies in that period. Sometimes you don’t realise how physical the game is and that’s at all levels. Even teams that pop it about still have a physicality about them. That’s not because we’ve not got physicality because that team on Saturday was arguably getting towards the biggest and strongest we’ve named in an actual physical sense. We just need to get better at that. We’re probably encouraging teams to gain territory. That’s something we’ve spoken about and practised but they need to then produce it out on the pitch.”

One of the few positives from Saturday was the return from injury of Aiden McGeady and the manager was happy with the Irish international’s performance: “I thought he gave us a real spark when he came on. It was a big ask of him because he hasn’t trained in four months. At the end of the game he probably looked a bit leggy but what he probably did was spark us in that period where we scored and had other opportunities. The thing about Aiden is he does care. I’ve known him for a while because of playing in Scotland and he’s a character. He does care about his football. He cares about having been relegated, he cares about being in this league and wanting to get out of it. That helps as well. You need characters that are vocal in that sense because he’s vocal about it. Having him back amongst the group and having that drive and having his ability in that area of the pitch, he’s going to be an asset for us. It’s a case of introducing him at the right times as well.”

Ross also spoke about the injury that Charlie Wyke sustained in a collision with Burton goalkeeper, Dimitar Evtimov. He said: “It was a significant impact when he challenged the goalkeeper and it’s the same knee that was injured when he came to the club. He’s in a bit of pain. Sometimes these things settle and they’re not as bad as you fear, but they can go the other way as well. We’ll look at him for the next 24 hours, but it’s a blow for him because he’s still working his way back to full match sharpness. At the time I thought it was reckless, but I’ve watched it again and I think it was a collision. A foul in the second half on Lynden Gooch was worse, but the one on Charlie was just a collision.”

In other news, Chris Maguire reckons that we’ll bounce back from the Burton defeat against Rochdale on Saturday “We’ve not felt that feeling all season and it’s not a good feeling to have after a game,” Maguire said. “We don’t want it to creep in too much but there’s going to be games like that over the course of a season. The thing that’s disappointing is the manner in which we got beaten. The first half we know wasn’t good enough. Yeah, we’re a massive club but just because of that it doesn’t give us the right to turn out at clubs and expect to win, we know that. We know it’s going to be difficult. Burton was a different type of game to Wimbledon, they’re a more physical team, I just think it was the way we lost the goals and the manner in which we started the match which was more disappointing for us. It’s a learning curve and we’ve got to realise we can’t keep gifting teams a goal start. We’ve been lucky to come back from the one but Saturday was the first we’ve gone two behind. I think when we got one back a lot of people were thinking we were going to nick a draw. It wasn’t to be. We’ve got to work on that on the training pitch, we’ve spoken about it before. We can’t keep gifting teams the goal start. We’ve spoken about that and we’ll keep that in house and work on it on the training pitch. As a squad we’ll come together and try to work on it to try and solve the problem.”

Maguire also felt that we never gave up, despite going two down. “I think you can see we don’t down tools too easily,” he added. “I’ve been on the other side of it where you feel sorry for yourselves and your heads drop, and all over the pitch you can see that. I think it can give us a good kick up the backside here. We’re in a game. We keep giving goals away and it’s something we want to stop but I think everybody can see the reaction when we do go behind and we do kick on. Unfortunately, Saturday wasn’t a day when we could come back but we do know what we have to do. Eight games in, one defeat for a relatively new team is quite good. The way we’ve played some games, the football’s been quite good and I think the fans would back that up. But we’re not the finished article, we know that. It’s a long season and hopefully we can get better as we go on. I think it’s the first goal I’ve scored for a while outside the box. It used to be a thing of mine doing that a lot, especially with the left foot. It was a nice strike it was just unfortunate it didn’t really mean anything for the team. On a personal note, you want to play every game and unfortunately I didn’t start on Saturday but I felt I came on and tried to show that’s why I want to be in the team.”