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Interviews

Kewell Wants To Back It Up At Barrow

24 November 2020

The Head Coach spoke to iFollow Latics ahead of the league fixture in Cumbria.

In the space of three days his side will have travelled the length of the country and after a morale boosting performance and result at Exeter over the weekend, he is keen for his team to record back-to-back victories in the league to help the club climb up the table.

“This is the most important thing for us now. Again we've talked about it quite a lot this season so far, but we need consistency from this team now.

“It was a great performance at Exeter, not many teams will go down there and stick to a game plan. We were disciplined, compact, we worked our tactics well and got a very good result. They’ve gone 13 games without losing before that so credit has to go to my players.

“But there's no room for hiding, because it clearly shows they can do it. Now they have to get up and do it again quickly in what is going to be a very difficult game. 

“The pitch is obviously open so we know the conditions are not going to be perfect with it being a night match. So we have to be ready for the challenges that Barrow are going to throw at us.

“They’re a decent footballing team who are very well organised. They love to play from the back, so I think it's going to be another good game of football all things considered. But I feel it's going to again come down to individual battles.”

He added: “They had a great season to get promoted and what they’ve created there David Dunn has obviously continued it alongside putting his own spin on it.

“So for us, we know they're going to be playing football the right way, they're going to want to play it through the middle areas and work the channels to get strikes off. So we've got to be focused and challenge everything.”

With four wins out of his team’s last five games, it seems the squad are moving in the right direction after another difficult start to a season, but Kewell admits it’s the old cliche of one game at a time instead of looking at table positions.

“We've just got to concentrate on this game. I'll let everybody else talk and see what they're going to say, but I'll keep my team grounded. I'll be happier once I get that consistency. If I can get that then that means we can really throw out a good challenge to a lot of teams in any of the competitions we’re in.”

With wanting consistency on the pitch, off it a couple more players are doubtful and have been added to the injury list, with the ones on it looking like they will return sooner rather than later.

“It’s a similar squad to the one from the weekend due to the tight turnaround. Harry Clarke and Kyle Jameson are still unavailable due to their knocks with Kyle’s being more long-term in the fact it’ll be a month or so.

“But the good news is, Conor McAleny is now back. So he'll be involved with the squad as he’s been looking great in training again. That’s a huge boost for us in terms of the attacking options and taking more of our chances as we have great competition in that department. 

“Zak Dearnley is not too far away now, so it’s frustrating defensively that we have a couple out still but attacking wise we’re getting back to full strength which is pleasing.

“Alfie McCalmont just had a bit of fatigue from international duty last week so he’ll be ready to go again now as well.”

He continued: “We're always going to have problems with injuries with the amount of fixtures in a short timeframe, but it was an unfortunate incident with Jameson in training because I thought when he had come in, he had done exceptionally well. 

“Harry Clarke has been phenomenal since he's arrived too but it’s football, we’ll always get these little nasty niggly injuries. Players need to make sure they’re fully fit to play in body and mind otherwise you end up playing within yourself and get found out very quickly due to the competitiveness of this division.

“So selecting players we don’t want to rush any back quicker than is necessary as it’s a mixture of player welfare but doing what is right for the long-term. I’ll select players to start based on their recent performances in games and training as well as overall fitness levels. I’ve always worked like that.”


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