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Interviews

Kewell On Tough Test Against Walsall

15 December 2020

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The Head Coach sat down and provided his thoughts ahead of the Sky Bet League Two clash with Walsall this evening.

Darrell Clarke’s side enter the fixture unbeaten in four matches and Harry Kewell expects a tough game but eyes back-to-back home league wins.

"The two teams that have had an interesting start to the season, so it's going to be a tough game. They play kind of a similar way to us.

"I don't think they're going to come here and be exposed, I think they'll come back sit back and they've got a front three that can score that can cause a lot of teams problems and never give up, good work ethic in the team.

"And in terms of how the game is going to pan out, it’s a case of a tactical battle and it's going to be a game that's going to come down to who wants it the most and whoever can take their chances. If we get a good result this evening, it could really kick us on and in touching distance of that top-six."

The gaffer has been pleased with Latics’ rise up the table in recent weeks, however, reinforces that it’s a long-term project.

"We want to get Oldham and back to where they belong that's the target here. There's no question about that. But it is going to take time and we're going to have little speed bumps on the way.

"If we hit speed bumps, we just go over them, and we continue on to the next game, but it is a good opportunity and we have to seize these moments and take them.

After five weeks on the sideline, forward Zak Dearnley made a return to the action at the weekend to boost our attacking options.

"It was fantastic to see Zak back and confident. He looked match fit and ready, and that's the one thing that we're looking for Zak because we know what capabilities he's got in the game."

Latics haven’t kept a clean sheet in the league this campaign and it’s something Kewell is trying to address but on the flip side, he’s delighted with the attacking play.

"Defensively, we've got to be switched on because it’s going to be a tight game and whoever has the quality to put their chances away will obviously come out on top, I mean I know that sounds like any normal game of football but especially tonight I think it's going be our toughest test.

"The pleasing element from Saturday is that we took our chances, we had four or five shots on target we've got three. It's the first time probably this year where we probably haven't dominated the shots, however, we've had lesser shots but scored more goals.

"One thing that you like to do as a Head Coach of a team is you want to create the chances, and you want to be able to make the strikers have them chances to score goals."

Kewell claims he’s starting to see the confidence build in his players and believes it’s down to their hard work on the training pitch.

"It was fantastic to see Dylan Bahamboula and Davis Keillor-Dunn get on the scoresheet which is a great moment and now they’re playing with confidence and as a Head Coach, it’s the main aspect that you want players to go onto the pitch full of confidence.

"Of course, it's the right thing to have confidence when you play but you've got to earn the right to play and since I've been here, I've seen confidence growing slowly into the team.

"And the only way you can gain confidence is by working hard on the training pitch, and we're working hard to do everything properly. So, for me, the confidence is slowly growing but that's only because of the way that their attitude is towards training and they're taking the information on now and training, and we're seeing slight progress in games."

Finally, on tonight's fixture being towards the work of the Community Trust, it's an area that Kewell is passionate and is pleased to see the players embracing it.

"This football club needs to be at the heart of the community and as a group we have made it known from the start that all the players need to do their bit to link the football club with the local area and it's supporters of all ages.

"So far they've embraced that and it's be pleasing to see it's helping the Community Trust with their work and interaction, so long may it continue."


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