Graham Alexander is hoping Salford City maintain some consistency going into Saturday’s game against Cambridge United (KO 15:00).
Colin Calderwood’s side arrive at The Peninsula Stadium with one of the best away records in the league having won three and drawn two of their six games on the road so far, but are without a win in four games in all competitions.
The Ammies won their first EFL game away from home last weekend as they put three past Walsall without reply, following back-to-back defeats. There wasn’t much time to celebrate though, and the Gaffer is keen to keep heads level in the squad.
“To be fair to the players even the week before, we were obviously disappointed if we get beat and don’t perform, but the thing about this group and the staff we come in on Monday and we’re determined just to put things right, and just to focus on the next game.
“We care deeply about the results we get on a Saturday and I’m sure the players are the same as me and the other staff, if you get beat on a Saturday night and on Sunday your day is really spoiled, but once you get into work you’re just looking at how to improve.
“It’s been the same this week, we haven’t gone overboard celebrating or anything because it’s one game, but I think we’ve seen what we can do when we play well, when we do the right things, make the right decisions and that’s what our aim has got to be.
“The performance for me outside of the result was very good, I thought we created a lot of chances and a lot of problems for Walsall, but we defended well as a team as well.
“Of course winning games, everyone’s got a smile on our face when they come back in on Monday, but the work generally stays the same so that’s been the case this week.
“We try and keep an even keel, a consistency about the way we behave and act around the players because we want consistency from them but I think we’ve got real good experienced pros that understand the things that you gain in football are over the long term, they’re not week-to-week, it’s over nine or 10 months so it’s about taking all the positives the we produced on Saturday then trying to improve on the other aspects which we’ve worked hard to do this week.
“The biggest thing for me last week was taking what we did in training into the game, that’s what the players did and that has to be the focus for the team from now on, having that mentality and that focus to think about what we talk about, what we work on in training consistently and then just reproducing it in a match day scenario.
“We know the opposition, we’ll always have different plans and different ways of playing but I think we have to concentrate on how we want to play, how we want to defend and how we want to cause problems for the opposition.”
There is nothing fresh to report except the players who have been out are back in training, although Saturday could come too soon for them.
“We’ve had a couple of boys training with us for a couple of days, not the full week, so that’s been a positive,” said the Gaffer.
“Whether they’ll be ready for the weekend I doubt as they’ve only just come back into training this week, and with some of them it would be too much of a risk but it’s good to see them back in their football boots, they’re good players, really valuable to us so hopefully they’ll be back really quickly.”
Meanwhile Jake Beesley (Solihull Moors), Devante Rodney and Tom Walker (both Stockport County) are all out on loan to get some playing time. Beesley scored on his Moors debut on Tuesday night as they beat Sutton United 2-0, while Walker assisted one and scored one in Stockport’s 2-1 win over Hartlepool United.
“We did have at the start of this week, and at the end of last week, quite a big squad and too big really to get value from every player, to be able to coach and train them well enough each week because the group was too big for the work we had to do and the facilities we have.
“There’s also financial issues that we have to address as in the Financial Fair Play and so forth which is really important and we’re determined to do the right things, so all those things came into play, plus we have young players that, looking over the next three months, were they going to get regular game time? No one knows but the reality is it might be difficult for them so we thought for them to improve, add value to themselves and to us as a club, going out and playing regular games at a level that they know and we know they can compete at would do them the world of good, and we’ve seen the value of that already this week from the players that have gone out and done really well for their respective clubs.
“We expect come January that these lads have got 15-20 games under their belt, feeling good about themselves, up to full match fitness which a couple of them need to do, and everyone’s in a better scenario, but it does also let us have the opportunity to concentrate on a smaller group of players which will help us concentrate on just the squad that’s here, create that tight-knit bond and really get value into them on the training pitch.
“It’s so important that, you can’t just turn up on a Saturday and just play and expect to win, there’s so much work that has to go in place and if you haven’t got the right environment and the right facilities then you’re going to struggle so we have to manage the size of the squad, we have to manage each individual and what we’re going to do is allow these lads to flourish and learn the game.
“There’s quite a few of them who haven’t played at this level and they haven’t played that often at the level below so these loans will give them the opportunity to do that, and it was great to see them start really well this week.”