Boss previews crunch clash with Ipswich
It hasn’t been the ideal first week for new Town Manager Mark Robins, but he is confident that he and his players can turn things around.
A 4-1 defeat to Wigan in the FA Cup on debut was followed by a 6-1 loss at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night.
“It’s been a whirlwind; coming in on Thursday of last week and only having a couple of training sessions and then the result on Tuesday night came totally out of the blue,” admitted Robins.
Talking about the Forest game, he said: “We started really well in the first 20 minutes, but at full time the focus was on the concession of goals that we had conceded. I thought we passed the ball well, but there were one or two elements that we were lacking and we need to put that right. We started like a house on fire and were excellent; when we got the ball back, we looked promising and could have scored goals ourselves. It was fairly open, it’s just that Forest took their chances and we didn’t take ours.
“There are good players at this Club, they just need to take responsibility and when they do that, they will turn the results around,” Mark continued. “It’s about the know-how as well. At times on Tuesday there was some schoolboy defending. We can’t allow people to run off the back of us and get into goal scoring opportunities. At this level, they will punish you.”
Robins has had a few days to work with his players since the Forest showing in preparation for Saturday’s clash against the Tractor Boys.
“It’s given me time to assess them during the games. There were some good things and some not so good things - and areas that we need to improve. But that’s generally the case when a manager loses their job and a new one comes in – there are areas that are going to need some work. Here’s no doubt in my mind that we will be able to turn things around.
“You could see that some of the players have confidence, but when a goal is conceded they seem to be deflated. That’s something that has got to turn around and be changed. With the stage we are at in the season, obviously games run out and we need to sort it quickly."
Regarding Saturday’s game, he said: “I think every game you play is a test of your character. Teams pose different problems and this weekend Ipswich will pose a different threat to us. When we pass the ball, we don’t want to drop each other in the cart, but move it quickly and try and play football. We’ve got to try and be smart with our play.
“Mick McCarthy has gone in there and had some good results and some serious reverses similar to what we had the other night. They will come to our patch knowing that it is a big game at an important stage of the season. We will be aware of what their capabilities are, but it’s all about what we do with and without the ball.
“I know Mick fairly well and speak to him infrequently. It’s always a good conversation with Mick – he’s a good character and an experienced football man. He’ll be hoping that they can turn their form around. We’ll try and stop their game and get on with ours and hopefully we will get a positive performance on Saturday.”
Town were supported fantastically at the City Ground and Robins thanked the 1,452 for their efforts.
“The supporters have been behind the Club through thick and thin and it was noticeable the other night that when the goals were going in, the majority stayed there and supported the team right until the end, which from my point of view was absolutely fantastic. It was brilliant.
“It is so easy to turn against your team, but they don’t seem to be the kind of supporters that will do that, which is a real big plus for us. They are the twelfth man."
To finish, Robins provide a fitness update on his squad.
“We are where we were this time last week,” he said. “Anthony Gerrard has this longstanding Achilles injury when he needs rest to help him through, but he should be back for Saturday.”