Pre Wycombe Presser

Jack Ross has given his pre-match Wycombe presser. Here’s the meat of it…

 

“We had a long journey back after the game on Tuesday. We travelled together through the night and it meant the players could take satisfaction together of the result. The players rested yesterday, back in today but everything is focused on the next match now. We’ve got some really important league games coming up. We’re very much focused on the league now until the cup final comes around and then we’ll enjoy the week, but in the meantime it’s very obvious to see we’ve got some very important league games.”

 

Will the match against Barnsley next Tuesday come into your thinking when selecting a team on Saturday?

“No. Maybe earlier on in the season we looked ahead because of how demanding the fixture schedule is in this league. But now when you look at where we are and how we’ve progressed in the Checkatrade Trophy, we’re on course for a 58-61 game season. Earlier on you’re maybe looking at retaining things, but as it goes on you’re looking more at continuity and you’re picking players who are in good form. We’ve got a lot of them at the moment. So, there’s plenty still to go but our focus is all on the next match and the next match only. Tuesday at the moment is of no interest to us. It’s very much about Saturday and winning that game.”

 

Will getting to Wembley final help with confidence

“It certainly does no harm. I’ve spoken often enough about the players retaining a fairly balanced mood for most of the season. I think they’ve done that really well and grown into that too. So on the back of Tuesday night there was satisfaction, but also realising that we’ve got a lot of important fixtures ahead that we need to win to make sure we achieve the ultimate goal this season which is promotion. But in terms of the overall feel of the whole club, there’s been a lot of optimism and hope throughout the season, but it’s just another thing that will very much help that, and give an awful lot of people something to really look forward to at the end of the month as well. I do think over the course of the season we have been good, regardless of what people say, our record speaks for itself in that regard. But it’s fair to say that over the last five or six fixtures we’ve maintained good control and that is vital. The players feel that as well. You start to feel that on the training pitches within the group even before you go out on a match day is important and I do believe the whole group is at that point. Football is a bit more perspective than people understand and they can feel it amongst themselves if they’re in that good place.”

 

Will Grigg's goal should help?

“First of all, he’s overall play has been very good. It’s no coincidence we’ve created a lot more opportunities since he’s been in the team because he’s helped us in the final third in terms of a tactical approach. Secondly, never have I worried about him. If you listen to his after-match interviews he believes in himself. He’s not arrogant, he just believes in himself and he should because his record speaks for itself. Having got to know him over the last five or six weeks I’ve never once been concerned about his ability to play for this club and score goals. It was nice obviously for him to get on the scoresheet from open play. There’s no doubt from me he’ll do that more between now and the end of the season.”

 

Is George Honeyman fit?

“He’s recovering well. He wasn’t out on the grass today but more precautionary than anything else. As things stand we expect him to train with the group tomorrow. It was just an impact injury during the game, sore at the time but it’s healed well since Tuesday.”

 

Could Fleetwood be rearranged for internationals?

“It wouldn’t be ideal. We’ve had to rearrange the Burton game and the Accrington game and we’ve had a lot of challenges in that respect. The Burton one I obviously can’t complain about because it comes as a result of being successful in another competition, and to a degree international call-ups are an indication of individual players doing well also. But what we’re also aware of is that we have a lot of other players being considered for international selection. I suppose the frustrating thing from a club manager’s point of view is maybe if the confirmation of selection was done earlier then it would be really helpful because then you would know where you were at and you would be able to have some clarity. At the moment we’ve got a lot of players being considered so we have to make a sensible decision.”

 

Grant Leadbitter?

“I think he’s been very good from the moment he stepped back into the club. The contribution that will be most talked about is the one everyone will see on the pitch. I get to see his off-field contribution on a daily basis and I’ve liked Grant from the very first time I spoke to him. He’s been a really good addition for us and how he’s strengthened the group on and off the pitch cannot be underestimated. We’ve got some really great characters in our group and all we did was just go and get another one. People shouldn’t underestimate that. I think people often think you should only recruit players like that if you don’t have enough of them, but I think you can never have enough and should keep buying them if they’re available. It’s not easy to find a player who fits both on and off the field but he does fit both and I think you can see in his performances and how he reacts after the games, he’s loving his football at the minute and he’s desperate to bring success to the club.”

 

Could Wembley become a distraction?

“The players have used the word satisfaction a lot to describe their feelings after matches. I think they’re satisfied that they’ve produced consistent performances and results throughout this competition in difficult circumstances at times. Every one of them deep down has pride knowing they’ve reached the cup final and have that to look forward to. But having spoke to them this morning in the team meeting, not that I really needed to, but I just re emphasised the need to refocus on the job at end. But I can just tell looking at them, looking into their eyes, that there’s a group there that are fully engaged and yeah, we’re satisfied we’ve got there, but we’ll put it to the side and then when it comes around we’ll enjoy it. For now though, it’s about continuing to band out results in the league. They’ve got the grit between their teeth right now, which is good. I’ve never really doubted how much it would mean. I think a proper fanbase acknowledges the significance of a cup final at Wembley. They obviously have very recent memory of being there which is positive to a degree, if you take away the result of the match. But it’s became a bit of folklore in the club and I think there’s people that maybe weren’t apart of it then that are desperate to be part of it this time. And also people who want to revisit that also. I think more importantly for me, there are people who work at this club who are fans. They are work colleagues of myself now and I get the chance to speak to them and hear how much it means to them. Speaking to people back in the academy today and in the kitchen, they’re speaking not as a work colleague but as a fan, and it gives me a better understanding of how much it means to them. It’s a brilliant reward for everything they’ve had to endure over the last few years.”

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At the back end of the 1980s, football fanzines began to sweep the country and in 1989 we were presented with a new vehicle on which to enjoy some of this ride – A Love Supreme. ALS was a place we could all go to celebrate and commiserate being a Sunderland fan. Win, lose or draw, the pages of the fanzine became solace for many of us as we stumbled our way through our day to day lives, punctuated by the ups and downs of more match days than any of us care to remember.

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