Here’s Jack Ross’ Plymouth Argyle presser in full…
How’s the mood in the camp?
“There’s no difference from here. What we do very well here is not get too carried away by results either way. The reality is we’ve only lost two league games and you wouldn’t have thought that was the case by some of the reaction. We’ve had a good season, and that remains the case. When you get a couple of wins like we have over the course of the last week we don’t all of a sudden become carried away with that. So the mood has remained the same. I’ve never sensed any diminished hunger within the group to try and finish with success this season. It’s remained pretty consistent. The players are very competitive and that’s why they’ve got to this level of their chosen profession. But, when you come away from that (the day of the match) it’s remained balanced throughout. What it maybe does do is strengthen their conviction that they can go and be successful this season, and when you’re delivering that message it’s nice to have evidence to back it up with as well. Thankfully we’ve had that throughout the majority of the season and it’s returned in the last couple of weeks.”
On Charlie Wyke’s form…
“I don’t think you can ever just afford a player game time for sentimental reasons. However, the support you offer a player through any periods of off form is important and again the unseen work that we often talk about. Any player who might suffer bad form, a drop in confidence, or whatever it might be, we work with them privately within the confines of the training ground and we’ll continue to do that. It’s communication as well as just on the training pitch and we’ll continue to do that. That remains consistent with every player. The team we select and the squad we select is based who we feel gives us the best chance of winning the game. Sometimes that’s reflective of current form, sometimes that’s reflective of the challenges we face.”
“Our record at the Stadium Of Light is good. To have got to a point where there are six games remaining and we haven’t lost is very encouraging - especially considering the record here in the last couple of years - but we want to maintain that record and maintain it with six wins. To do that we need to continue to play well and we need a collective effort from everybody at the club and also the supporters who can give us the foundations to do that.”
On Kieffer Moore's injury...
“Anytime you lose your top scorer it’s challenging. We’ve had that. I think people forget we’ve had that after losing Josh in the January transfer window who’d scored a lot of goals for us. We’ve then lost another important player in Chris Maguire to a leg break. You’ve got to deal with the challenges of that. I think Luton had a spell recently where they had all their strikers out injured at the same time. I’m sure Daniel and everybody else at Barnsley will be confident of coping with this. I genuinely don’t pay too much attention to it. The only thing I can affect is our own performances and our own results. The good thing is there’s a great focus among the players at the minute to make sure that’s the case. They understand if they do that and keep winning games we’re going to give ourselves a really good chance of going up.”
Post window are new players settling in...
“I’ve always thought that the later you recruit in January the longer it will take to bed those players in. We did have a good January in terms of the players we brought in, but it isn’t easy to bed players in to the team. Also, it’s how the players react to it because the squad has been the most competitive it’s been all season - not just through recruitment but it coincided with a lot of players returning to fitness. What we’re seeing from the players - whether they’re playing or not - they’ll know they have to be absolutely at it to play in the team. The way they’ve trained in the past couple of weeks has been really encouraging because I think every single one of them wants to play. They’re showing that they want to be at they’re best if they get their opportunity. I think that’s the difference now, rather than everything settling down. There was a reasonable amount of change in such a short space of time. We’ve got a lot of good players now and it’s been difficult. There’s been players not even in the 18 lately who are good players and that’s going to be the case over the remaining fixtures as well. As with every weekend, this weekend we have concerns over three or four which naturally happens when you play as many games as we have recently and as many as we will in the next few weeks, so we’re going to need that squad. It’s encouraging then that desire to play is - I wouldn’t say the highest it’s been because it’s always been there - but everything has went up a notch in terms of training as everybody wants to make the team.”
“We don’t have anything major. Bryan Oviedo is still out, but Donald Love is back in training and has been for a couple of weeks. He’s been out for a long time but he is now back in amongst the group. The ones we have doubts over I’d rather not speak about, as we hope they will be fit. Being ultra-positive we could have everyone fit except Bryan and Chris (Maguire), or on the flipside we could end up with two or three players unavailable. We just have to see how the next 24-36 hours go.”
“They have a number of supporters travelling a long way for the game which shows the significance of it for them. In the last few weeks they’ve been in really good form. We’ve had that a lot recently. Scunthorpe away was one we only drew but they were in fantastic form at the time. Bristol Rovers last weekend were a team that hadn’t lost since we played them, so quite often it feels we’re coming up against teams in form despite not being towards the top of the table. They certainly fall into that category believing they can win and going out to do just that. Quite often this season though, those type of games have worked in our favour. I think every team that’s visited have responded to the environment positively and that’s not made it easy for us. They’ve embraced it, but we’ve also made it difficult which shows because our home form has been so good. The atmosphere has been good too, so teams coming here have needed to respond to it. I can understand why that record would give you extra motivation if you were on the opposition, but it’s a proud record that we want to keep intact. We spoke all the way back in August about the importance of having that good home record to give ourselves a good chance and thankfully, with six home games to go we’ve done that and that’s a big reason why we’re still in with a chance of achieving promotion.”
Form in last two games
“Yeah, it’s hard in football because it is very emotional so when you’re looking at it you maybe see it differently to the players because it’s my job to be a manager and I have to detach myself at times from that emotion. Sometimes it means you enjoy it a bit less because you have to have that pragmatic approach to it. Equally, the supporters go through it all with their emotions and that can lead to them being very reactive, but the truth is the only thing that truly matters is the overall result after the 46th game of the season. Before that, we can all have an opinion and speculate about it, worry about it or get excited about it, but the only time it matters is at the end of the season. If you have a plan like we do and you continue it then it’s a good basis for success. The players have bought into that because it’s not easy at a big club like this that has comment continually around it, to maintain that consistency. The players have done that well this season and continually stress it will stand them in good stead not just this season but for the rest of their careers.”