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Interviews

Maamria Wants To Make Home Advantage Count

31 October 2019

As a new month arrives, November sees Latics only have a single organised fixture at Boundary Park currently.

The Head Coach sees the Northampton game as an ideal and the only opportunity at home to get vital points on the board before a testing but exciting few games on the road.

Ahead of the home encounter, Maamria is pleased with how things are shaping up now he has had time to settle in and get his points across.

"It's been a relatively decent week, with the win against Walsall and the draw at Port Vale, it obviously could've better but you always come in and reflect on the games, things that we did well and things that we need to do better.

"Get those building blocks ready and move forward with that, that's what we're doing week-in, week-out regardless of the result.

"I always speak about the process and that's what we've been doing. Everybody can see the improvement of the team."

He added: "We look physically much, much better. We finished the game strong against Port Vale and actually looked like we were going to win it in the last ten minutes.

"We look a lot more organised with and without the ball. We've got a better shape about us. I think that everybody who has been watching us has definitely seen small steps going forward and that's encouraging.

"Even if you look at the GPS stats we've been covering a lot more distance than what the squad had been doing at the start of the season.

"So it's all going in the right direction and like I said it's a process and you've got to keep doing certain things right for the long-term benefit of the football club."

The Cobblers visit Oldham once again on a fine run of form, winning their last three league games all with a 2-0 scoreline and Maamria understands this fixture will be one of the tougher ones but is up for the challenge after doing his research.

"Keith Curle is an experienced manager at this level. They've spent a lot in the summer and recruited arguably one of the best squads in League Two. 

"They've started slow like any club really when you get a lot of new players together, it's always going to take a little bit to get going but unfortunately for us they got going in the last two weeks. 

"I know their players pretty well and I know the way they play and what to expect from a Keith Curle team."

He continued: "They're going to be strong, be organised defensively and we have to make sure we defend them properly as there will be a resilience to them with their attacking threat and we have to expose their weaknesses which is to play football around them.

"But the focus is always about us and improving certain aspects of our game, in possession and out of possession.

"As a game we're looking forward to it and come into it in a good moment. Hopefully our fans will come in with numbers to back us as it's a big game for us. We need them and if we come out with the right result we'll be in a much better place."

With the next home game over a month away after Saturday, the Head Coach sees it as an opportunity to improve the away form with one of the fixtures being the the FA Cup fixture at Gateshead.

"We'll still get the support away from home I'm sure as they've been travelling in their numbers and making a lot of noise.

"We have to give them something to keep following us of course. It's going to be an exciting month November.

"When I look at the fixture list of course we need our fans to be a part of it. After the home game this weekend we have four away straight away.

"And I think our away record needs to improve as much as the home record really. Away from home we have improved though, you look at the Port Vale game and that's the type of away performance you want to produce when you're hard to beat, resilient and hitting teams on the counter.

"If we keep improving on that we'll get the right results."

With back-to-back clean sheets, Maamria prides himself on building a team that are hard to break down and don't concede many goals.

"Where ever I've been at I work from the back. You need to build the foundations first to stop conceding goals, as we've been conceding a lot, a lot of them late as well.

"So the fitness, the concentration and defensive organisation all were a big concern. So we had to get that right first and then we've still got enough creativity in the team to score goals.

"Whilst in League Two the opposing teams always give you chances to score goals but the best organised team defensively are normally at the top end of the table.

"So that's how I start building and it's really nice to see it come to fruition in the last couple of games with two clean sheets and if we get another at the weekend I'm sure we'll get the win."

Going to another league game there is more selection decisions to make as defender Tomas Egert returns from his three game suspension with other players looking like they may be fit after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

"I can't wait for Tomas to come back into the squad along with Zak [Mills] and Branger as well. 

"We've been quite thin and got a few injuries behind the scenes. But the lads who have been playing and performing week-in, week-out they've been fantastic the past two or three weeks.

"Hopefully with Tomas coming back at the weekend it gives us a different option and I'm looking to explore all those available to me."

Whilst the squad strength returns it also makes it harder for Maamria who to choose after introducing Academy players recently, all of whom performed well and insisted that those involved will continue in his plans going forwards.

"There were a few games on Tuesday night I could've gone to watch and I was in a dilemma really to go and see different players for the January transfer window.

"Or it was watch our own boys and have a closer look. It's an easy fix for us as we can bring them in straight away with four already being a part of the first team.

"It was a fantastic performance from them, they performed really well and I'm excited for Zak [Emmerson] he was tremendous in terms of his work rate, his movement and he's got a chance for Saturday.

"So I'm looking forward to having him with me when he's back in and on the whole we've definitely got a bright future ahead with a good U18 squad and I'll be working closely with them.


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