Mark pleased with Rotherham performance
Town Manager Mark Robins asked for improvement ahead of his team’s pre-season friendly at Rotherham this afternoon – and he got it.
Mark watched his side control the game against the Millers on the way to the first win of pre-season and told htafc.com that he was happy with what he saw after the final whistle.
“That was more like it,” Mark explained. “I think we controlled the game from start to finish, although at half-time we did talk about getting closer to them in order to win the ball back quicker. I thought the second-half was a little bit more pedestrian, but at this stage they’re still getting tiredness in their legs.
“All we have to add is a little bit more clinical in the final third in terms of passing, the ball into the box and the finishing. We weren’t far away today though – that was the pleasing thing. I want us to pass it out from the back, but as we’ve seen today Alex’s kicking is pretty much spot on if we need to go longer.
“We were getting frustrated, because we were getting into positions where we should stick the knife in and kill them off. Today we were ok with the ball but a little bit wasteful at times. However, I’m nit-picking because we’re starting to look like we want to. I was really pleased with today; I said I was looking for progression and I got it.
“In fairness to Rotherham they have a really strong, in-depth squad. In the second-half they changed the team around and had as strong a side out as they did in the first-half; you can see that the investment has gone in. They have momentum behind them with the new stadium and promotion to League 1, so we have to be pleased with our day’s work. The majority of players got through the best part of 90 minutes relatively unscathed.”
One man that wasn’t involved today was experienced midfielder Keith Southern, as Mark explained:
“We lost Keith Southern to a bit of a calf strain on Friday, which was a big disappointment. I think he will miss between a week and 10 days, but at this stage you want him to be able to work and be sharp. He’s put the work in during pre-season and got to a stage where he looked fit again, only to half a problem with his calf.
“Hopefully Jon Stead will be back within 10 days, but I do get Oscar Gobern back on Monday. It was a blow losing him, but he’s been working through pre-season and will have a base of fitness – it’s just about contact for him now.”
In their absence, Mark has been delighted with how Town’s younger players have performed – the latest being the midfield performance from Under-21 Captain Jordan Sinnott this afternoon.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the players – especially the young lads. The likes of Danny Carr, Matt Crooks, Jordan Sinnott and Tom Smith have played a lot of football over the last week and hopefully they can see more game time this year. I’m looking for them to push on, because they will give me other options.
“Jordan was excellent today; he has great ability. When I came in last season I watched him in the Cup at Leicester and I was impressed, but I just couldn’t find him a place in the team because of the predicament we were in. If you are good enough, you are old enough and he’s certainly coming to the fore. I want him to push us all the way this year and try to force his way in.”
Next up for the First Team is the home clash with Europa League side Real Betis on home soil this Wednesday.
“The game of pre-season is the one at home to Real Betis on Wednesday, which we’re looking forward to. Before then we have to get recovery time into the players and balance rest and hard work.
“We will be chasing the ball against Betis, without a shadow of a doubt. It will be a good game though – one I’m looking forward to.”
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