Salford City return to The Peninsula Stadium on Saturday for the visit of Forest Green Rovers (KO 15:00).
Following last weekend’s defeat at Crewe Alexandra, The Ammies will be keen to put things right back on home soil where both league wins have come this season.
Last year’s play-off semi-finalists Forest Green Rovers have enjoyed an unbeaten September and are yet to concede a goal this month as they compete for promotion to League One for the first time.
Mark Cooper’s side have established themselves as a League Two side since promotion from The National League in 2016-17, and will provide Salford with another thorough test.
However on the back of recent results, Salford manager Graham Alexander says he is looking for his side to concentrate on their own performance before thinking about their visitors.
“We’ve tried to isolate where we think we need to improve rather than think that everything is bad and terrible, which it isn’t.
“We are looking at the match defining moments; how we react to them, how we can avoid them, but you can’t avoid every negative thing in football.
“There’s always going to be something going against you at some point in the game, it’s important that the response to those actions is positive and clear and that’s what we’ve been trying to focus the players’ minds on.
“They’re a possession-based team who want to keep the ball and try and hurt you, they haven’t given many goals away, but each game you do your pre-match analysis, you see what your opponents’ threats and qualities are.
“For me we have to concentrate on ourselves more than ever at the moment rather than our opposition. I think it’s vital that we get our own game in our minds clear, the way we want to play, the way we want to react to things, and concentrate on ourselves as much as we possibly can.
“It’s the one thing that you can control, your own performance, and we need to start controlling that better before we think about the opponent.
“That’s no disrespect to Forest Green Rovers either, it doesn’t matter who we are playing this week, after seeing last week we have to concentrate on ourselves more than anything else so that’s been the biggest thing for us, we have to do that, we’ve seen this in every game this season that it’s been a different challenge and I think the quality has certainly gone up from what we faced last year.
“It’s about adapting to that really quickly and coming to grips with it, but understanding that we’ve got qualities of our own and that’s what I want the players’ minds to concentrate on. I think it’s focusing on what we can do and what we can bring to the game.”
Now 10 games in the league is starting to shape up, but of course lots can still change for any team and there is a long way of the season to go.
While The Ammies have already seen a lot of what League Two is about and has to offer, the Gaffer says that there are still things they are learning on top of what they have already learned.
“We’ve been learning about our own players, our own team, we’ve learned about the type of opposition we’re going to face. I think there’s lots of good footballing teams in this division, League Two can change from season to season; sometimes it’s a very physical league, sometimes it can be very technical because the turnaround of squads is quite regular, what we’ve seen so far is a lot of good, technical players and tactical teams, and we have to bring our own sort of brand of football to this stage.
“But we are learning all the time, I think the players as individuals are learning a lot because like we’ve said there’s a lot of players in our squad that haven’t had previous experience of the Football League, or have had very little.
“They’re learning about the improvements they have to make, what their qualities are, and I still believe that their qualities are good enough to win in the Football League.
“We know we’ve got some really talented players, some really ambitious players, but whenever you get a period like this when you’re tested, as we saw last year, it’s about your character, your character as a person, not just as a footballer but as a person.
“For me that’s where we have to show what we’re about, after all that’s what we let ourselves down with last week, I thought the first goal really affected the character of the team and for me that’s what we’re going to have to find again and make sure we stick to it and believe in ourselves.”
The Gaffer confirmed that he should have a near fully fit squad available to choose from, and that training has gone well this week.
“Apart from the ones we know about – Richie Towell, Liam Hogan, Chris Neal – the majority of them are all fighting to get into the team on Saturday. We’ve got Luke [Armstrong] with his tonsillitis which is a bit of a shame but the players have worked hard this week.
“Whenever we train we put sessions on, we challenge the players, and the response to these sessions is always really good and they fully commit to it physically, they try to learn from it tactically, but we need to progress that into under pressure situations as in match time.
“If we played as we train then I think we’ll win a lot of games, and that’s what the players have got to remember, they’ve got to remember about their training, trust their training, trust what they practice week in, week out, and then go and showcase it on Saturday.”
Tickets for home fans are available to buy online until 14:00 on Saturday. Cash admission will be available for the West Stand and East Stand (away fans) while capacity is available. Turnstiles open at 13:30. For more information, read the Fan Information article.