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Interviews

Maamria Focused On Getting Back To Basics

4 January 2020

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Ahead of the first away trip of 2020, the Head Coach admitted it's been a busy start to the New Year but is determined to keep working hard towards his goals.

Heading into the Cheltenham fixture, the quick turnaround has meant two more players are available at his disposal after the loan signing of Christian N'Guessan and the return of Gevaro Nepomuceno.

"We know that we have to strengthen in January so we have been quite busy and we've managed to secure Christian N'Guessan which is good news. Also, we've worked very hard in the past 24/48 hours to secure another player who we were very close to getting, but that's not going to happen until Monday now.

"But, I think we've got enough for the game to put on a performance that reflects what we've been doing for the last three to four months and we're going to go back to being hardworking and doing the basics well.

"We've been focusing on the performance against Newport away and the resilience of the team is something we've touched on. We've been very hard to beat over the good run of results that we've had before the last two defeats."

He added: "We looked at that period and what we were doing well and we'll go back to that. Basically sometimes you forget those things that are being taken for granted and three days in football is a long time and I always try to be level headed and manage the people around me.

"We need to make a lot of changes and we're doing that, some players have moved on already and we're trimming the squad down. We've got to try and bring better quality players in and I've got to say that the Chairman has been fantastic in terms of backing me to do those things.

"It's a work in process, we know that we need two windows at least, we know we need this window and the summer hopefully to make sure that we get a team that competes at the top end of this league at this level."

Looking at the opponents, the Robins have impressed this season after having a period of stability and Maamria acknowledged that although he knows what to expect it'll be a different test for his side to other teams in the division.

"They've been together for a while and Michael Duff has been there for a year-and-a-half to nearly two years so when he took the job it was difficult task for him, but he's managed to keep them up in the league last season.

"He's then done what he needed to do and changed the squad around and now he has players that know the league and will compete at this level and they've had a really good start to the season.

"They've hit a rough patch recently, like any team will do that, but they got individual players that play a certain way and they've kept that way throughout.

"It's going to be a tough game, I think that they've got the best home record in our league, but I think that it's about us. We know what to expect from Cheltenham as I've managed against them three times now, so I know what to expect from them but it's about us and making sure that we go back to what we were doing well when we had the four wins in eight.

"So that's been the focus for the last three days. But, it's not a lot to do about the opposition we know what they're about after playing them this season and it's more or less the same team.

"I know that they're missing one or two key players as are we and it's been a difficult period for all clubs in the league."

Talking about his new loan acquistion from Burnley, N'Guessan is expected to make the step up from development football and the Head Coach is looking forward to seeing his progression along with Gevaro coming back into the fold.

"I've been following Christian [N'Guessan] at Burnley's under 23's for a while now like I said. He's been a key part in their season whilst they are top of the league and are unbeaten in 23 games.

"He's an all-round box to box midfielder, still young but very mature for his age. He is a top lad and one of the players you love to coach."

He continued: "I'm also excited to have Gevaro [Nepomuceno] back. He went the week before I came but I know him from last season and the flair he has.

"He's one of Oldham's best players on his day and when I came last year with Stevenage, he gave us a very tough time. I've told Gevaro I've got to see the consistency from him though and I'm certain I can get that out of him as when he's focused he's a very good player."

Away from the transfer news, Maamria is confident he can make progress on the pitch which is the most important part for building for the future.

"I never set targets and I believe that every game was winnable. If you play your 'A-game' then you can beat anyone, for example when we travelled to Newport everybody wrote us off and we went there, played our best and won against a team in great form whereas at the time we were quite the opposite.

"In terms of January there are a lot of important games to focus on and the transfer window can take you off task in hand, so we need to make sure we take it game-by-game and get results that we need."


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