Town Head Coach Luke Williams addressed the local media earlier today ahead of his side’s trip to Bury on Saturday. Here are the key points from what he had to say…
ON LAWRENCE VIGOUROUX’S RED CARD BEING OVERTURNED:
“It was great to see that common sense has prevailed and Lawrence is available to play. Will Henry has done great and we know that he’s got a great future, but Lawrence is in-front at the moment and we really need him for the remaining games.”
ON THE DEFEAT TO OXFORD UNITED:
“I thought we looked comfortable in the first-half and we limited Oxford to very few chances. But, if I’m honest and this is what I told the players, the game should have been over at half-time.
"We scored, Nicky Ajose is in-front of the keeper, Charlie Colkett is in-front of the keeper and they are good chances to put the game beyond reach but, unfortunately, the mentality of the group is to go into themselves in the second-half and try and hold onto a slender lead – we’re not that group and they aren’t capable of doing that.
“They needed to keep playing with the same mentality as they did in the first-half and I’m sure we would have been fine, but again it is another difficult pill to swallow and it is another lesson that the players need to learn.
“It is nothing to do with fitness. The players are monitored very, very closely by Mikey (Cooper, Town’s Sports Scientist) and he knows every single players’ limitations and what they’re capable of.
“It isn’t a physical problem at all and my opinion is that it comes down to the mentality of the group – it is not strong enough and there’s too many people who go into a shell and they’re not able to perform consistently.”
ON NICKY AJOSE’S PERFORMANCE AGAINST OXFORD UNITED:
“We know what we’re going to get from Nicky and he knows his own game and he knows what his own strengths are.
“I’ve got no doubt that Nicky will score important goals for us.”
ON PLAYING A TARGET MAN UPFRONT:
“I think the league is so physical that it is difficult to go without any physical presence at the top of the pitch.
“We’re more likely to see a target man, particularly from the start of the game when it is more physical.”
ON JERMAINE HYLTON:
“We have all been lucky enough to see Jermaine Hylton day in and day out and what he can produce.
“We know that dropping down a few levels he can score lots and lots of goals, but he’s scored one goal in three seasons here for the first-team.
“He knows that he needs to do better than that to force his way into the team with so much competition.
“Scoring four goals against Bournemouth’s U18s team is worth nothing if you don’t score or create anything in the first-team, so you can only do as well as you can in a reserve team game and the idea is to be excellent and to show that you are a cut above that.
“Then you are going to get a chance to be involved with the first-team and when you get on the pitch you need to replicate something close to what people have seen in training and what people have seen in reserve games.
“The ball is in the court of those players that are on the bench or on the fringes and when they get a chance they need to take their opportunity.”
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE NEXT BLOCK OF GAMES:
“If we lose to anyone at the moment then it is a severe blow but we need to be able to move on very quickly from each game at this moment because if we spend too long dwelling then it is going to make things more difficult.
‘We don’t need to add more pressure so we need to play the game to win and afterwards, win, lose or draw, we need to wipe the slate clean and prepare and focus for the following game on Tuesday night.
“I don’t care if we win the last seven games of the season and lose all the rest if that’s what we need to be safe.
“I couldn’t care less who we play and who we beat as long as we beat enough teams to stay where we need to be.”
ON DEALING WITH BURY’S MAIN THREATS – TOM POPE, JAMES VAUGHAN AND JERMAINE PENNANT:
“We’ve been working over the last two days on how to impose ourselves and stop the opposition from having a supply line into Vaughan and Pope, who are clearly a very physical danger to us.
“Provided that we are capable of putting the game plan into action, then we’ve got a chance of making it a difficult day for Pope and Vaughan.
“It is difficult to completely stop Jermaine Pennant from crossing the ball altogether so we need to make it difficult for him and then we need to be prepared to defend the box correctly, because in a 90-minute game with players of that quality on the pitch it is impossible to expect not to concede a cross.
“This is a time for people to stand up and be counted.”