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Holden: "It's A Great Game To Start With."

26 February 2015

Dean Holden is taking things day-by-day after taking over as caretaker manager at Park for the foreseeable future.

In his first press conference as temporary boss, Holden started by paying tribute to the recently-departed Lee Johnson. "I want to just say on record about Lee giving me my first opportunity," said Holden.

"Obviously I had my first coaching job at Walsall as a player but Lee gave me my first full-time coaching job here and I'll be forever grateful for that. I've learned a lot from him and Tommy and they've moved on so hopefully they will have some success apart from when they play against us."

Attention now turns to preparing the side for Saturday's clash with Preston North End and Holden emphasised the importance of control.

Holden continued: "There was four or five managers we went through whilst I was here in three-and-a-half years. There is nothing we can do about it. All we can do is focus on training this morning. 

"Saturday's game is in my mind and the player's mind but ultimately, the only thing we are in control of is this training session. We have to make sure it's a good one and then tomorrow will come around and we will go again.

"I'm focusing on getting the players ready mentally. As I said, I've been in their position plenty of times so I know what they are thinking. Things run through their heads like 'my contract is up at the end of the season' or 'the gaffer liked me and now he's gone' but my mind is focused on today, tomorrow and Saturday and what will be will be."

"You have to put your own spin on things in training. In any challenge that is thrown on you, you would be a fool to copy somebody else. I'll put my own spin on things. 

"I've brought Locky [Adam Lockwood] in because he's a well respected member of any dressing room and the lads like him around here. Me and him have just put our own spin on things and we want to make training fun, enjoyable but full of hard work."

North End sit in fourth position only four points outside the automatic places but the 35-year-old cannot wait to get started.

"It's a great game to start with," admitted the former Walsall man. "I went to watch them the other night against Walsall and everyone knows what you're going to get with them.

"They are very organised and have a very good manager who has loads of experience. They are strong, physical and are a good working unit who know their own jobs so it's going to be a tough game. 

"The players need to go out there and carry on the hard work they have already done. We need to carry that work on for the promotion push."

Holden is hoping everybody gets behind the squad to continue the play-off push and is calling on a 12th man for Saturday's game.

"I'm sure the fans will get behind us." he said. "I'm also sure there is a lot of disappointment out there because we are in a good position but the manager has left. 

"Of course it's disappointing but there is nothing we can do about it now. The fans will get behind the team as they always do and hopefully they will see the players running through brick walls for the shirt. 

"In my career, I wasn't the best player but someone once called me 'Ronseal' because I did exactly what it said on the tin. I knew that I was going to go out there and give it everything and work harder than my opponent. 

"That's what will be coming across, I hope."

Watch the full interview on Latics Player.

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