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Club News


23 August 2014

Caretaker Manager Mark’s thoughts on the Charlton game

Although he was disappointed to see Charlton’s late equaliser, Caretaker Manager Mark Lillis was proud of Town’s performance in today’s 1-1 draw.

“It’s obviously disappointing to concede right at the death, because we haven’t had back-to-back wins at this football club for a long time,” Mark admitted. 

“However, we put in a performance here today on the back of three points at Reading and the place was bouncing at one point in the second-half; it was great to hear. I’m so proud of the players and the fans, because we’ve pulled together over the last couple of weeks. I’d like to thank the fans today, because it makes it all worthwhile when you have that following behind you.

“It shows you what you can do when you’ve got a good spirit in the dressing room. I’ve got in amongst the lads and we’ve told them we’ll need 20-odd of them, but that we trust them.

“It looked like we’d get all three points. It hurts that we’ve only got a point at home.”

The Terriers were dealt a blow just before half-time when Murray Wallace was shown a straight red card, as Mark described:

“It was difficult to take Murray (Wallace) getting sent off. I thought that if the lad went through, Joel Lynch was there to sweep up – he was coming round in front. 

“We had to regroup at half-time. I didn’t want us to sit back and soak up pressure right from the second-half whistle – I wanted us to have a go and try to play football with 10 men. 

“I feel we should have had a penalty late on when James Vaughan was brought down, but we can’t change that – it’s gone now. In football, that happens.”

Vaughan replaced goalscorer Nahki Wells around the hour mark, which Mark explained:

“We could have played Nahki on the pitch and played him alongside James, but with 10 men that would have been a 4-3-2 and that leaves you bare in the wide areas. The players did well as we kept it to two banks of four. I wanted to keep it nice and solid and not chase the game.

“Nahki took a nasty kick on the ankle and he’s played a lot of football in my time as Manager, but the goal will give him a nice feeling tonight.” 

Town’s Academy Manager was also full of praise for Sean Scannell, who played a big part in Town’s goal on his first home start of the season.

“Scanz has done well for me. He’s great going forward, but we’ve tried to work on his defensive side as he switches off quite easily. He’s learned quickly. In the Championship you need wide men who can get up and down – you can’t just be good going forward. He showed that ability today.

“He needs loving, Sean – he needs an arm round his shoulders and someone to believe in him. If you do that for him, he’ll do well. He was great today. He could do with a run of games to build his belief. I believe in him.”

Town lost Captain Lee Peltier to injury early in the second-half – but replacement centre back Conor Coady was exceptional.

“Lee gave us the nod that he felt fully fit, which we thought he was. He was up for the fight today and with Jonathan Hogg out (with a calf injury) we wanted to keep the same shape. He came in and did a good job in midfield; he calmed us down and he organised.

“When Lee went off, I called Conor over and told him we needed him to do a job at centre half. He said ‘no problem’. It’s fantastic to have players like that. He’s a great signing by the Club.”

With almost constant speculation about Town’s next permanent manager, Lillis is focussed on the matches – with the next being the Capital One Cup game at home to Nottingham Forest on Tuesday. 

“I’ll keep going. The main thing for me to do is keep the football side running smoothly until the time is right for the Club to bring the next manager in. Like in my playing days, I just want to give it my best so that when I do step down from the job, I feel like I’ve enjoyed it.

“We’ve got good momentum in the dressing room at the minute and we need to keep that going.”

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