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Interviews

Priest Respects Tranmere But Doesn't Fear Them

14 March 2019

With the manager absent due to a prior engagement, his assistant took time out again to give his thoughts ahead of the return to Boundary Park.

Looking back against the midweek battle at Lincoln he said;

"We started well, I thought we were in not complete control but we were in good control of the game and were making top of the league look distinctly average. 

"They gradually built some momentum and got into the game, there's no denying that, but the sending off certainly changed the fortunes in terms of how we wanted to get back into the game. 

"The positives were that the lads stuck at it. There was every chance we could've gone under especially when the second went in with so long to go but they really fought for the team and fought for the cause and showed a lot of character against a team who are flying high and are a physical team."

With just a single session to prepare for the visit of Tranmere Rovers the coaching staff have had to manage the workload once again.

"Today was more of a make sure we've got some energy into the team on Saturday. It was fairly light in terms of the boys who put the shift in the other night, because make no mistake in those conditions and the running they had to do in the second-half, if we had 'flogged' them today then we would've nothing left for Saturday. 

"So it's been a maintenance session today. Some of the squad players have trained hard but a lot of the boys who have been involved in a lot of minutes recently have just had a maintenance session where they've done a little bit of work but only enough to just keep some energy into the tank and not drain them."

With Jose Baxter serving the first of his three game ban after his red card at Sincil Bank in the week, Priest is confident in the group that someone else can step up and fill the space.

"It's a just a case of trusting people to go and do their job. There's enough experienced footballers in the group who've played in the positions that we're going to have to fill for Jose. 

"We have to understand that Jose's been very good since Paul's come in and he's been the one who's got us playing so somebody is going to have to stand up and take over the mantle."

With a Tranmere side firing on all fronts and in the play-off positions, the Latics side know they can get results in difficult patches like past performances this season have shown.

"I think the results this season have shown we can get a result against them. They are the form team in the division that goes without saying. 

"The striker up front James Norwood as well as Connor Jennings are flying high, it's not just those two though they've got a good balance to them, but our results and the cup run have shown that when we do turn up and some of the results we've had this season when everybody is ready and focused then there's not much in the division to be frightened of. 

"But obviously we're going to have to respect Tranmere because of the run they're on, but we certainly won't fear them."

And with Dapo Afolayan suffering a serious injury at Lincoln. A precise diagnosis will be known in the near future. 

"It's an ongoing process waiting for scan results and then in consultation with West Ham's medical people. 

"A decision then will be made as to the recovery period and the programme that will be put on."


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