Nicky Adams provided his pre-match thoughts ahead of the Sky Bet League Two fixture against Leyton Orient tomorrow evening (7:45pm KO).
After being left frustrated on Saturday, the playmaker still depicted positives from the performance but reinforced the importance of cutting out mistakes late on in games.
“It’s not a nice feeling when you're repeatedly conceding goals in the last minute, but we’ve just got to think with the games coming thick and fast that we can learn from our mistakes. The gaffer’s had us in Monday morning again, and we’ve had a look at the game, so now we've got to put it to bed because we've got some more big games to come.
“The main thing is that we learn from it because it's happened a few times now, and especially against teams that are going for promotion, we've been in the game, like on Saturday we were much the better side for a good hour, and probably, should’ve been two or three up before they equalised. We’ve just got to take the positives from it and make sure that it cannot happen again because it’s not good enough.” He commented.
“I know a couple of Mansfield’s players, and they were very complimentary about us, and I think they knew that on another day, we probably should’ve been two or three up, but it's getting to the stage now where we can’t keep saying that. We've got to put these teams to bed.”
The 35-year-old understands that he has a big role to play in keeping spirits upbeat in the changing room as well as highlighting areas of improvement going forwards.
“I think that everyone knows my personality, I try my best to put my arm around the players’ shoulders and boost morale in the squad. We’ve got some really, really good young players in the squad and we’re difficult situation, so it’s not been easy.
“They’re very talented lads, but I think that if I can help them in little ways off, for example, game management, then I’ll give them advice. That’s one area that I believe some of the other teams have done better than us with the experience that they've got in their teams.
“It's fine lines, if you look at the last results that we've had, we should be three, four or five points better off, but we're not. We’ll learn from it; we’ve still got plenty more games and we've got enough games to put it right.
“We’ve got to stay positive. The gaffer and Tommy (Wright) were as disappointed as anyone because they know how hard we've been working. But they’re right, we've got some big games coming up, so we can't dwell on it.” He stated.
“Rekindling our home form is a massive aim for us. As soon as the gaffer came in, we knew that we would get the fans back on our side, and since he's returned, they've been absolutely superb. On Saturday, a friend of mine went to the game, he's never been to watch Latics before, and he said ‘wow, your fans are fantastic’.
“I've had the pleasure of playing for these good northern clubs with big followings, I know what it means to people, and they spend their hard-earned money, so when you're in a situation, it’s been frustrating, and it's not been an easy season for them.
“The players and I really appreciate their support, it’s massive for us and we need them because they’re our 12th man. We’ll give it everything that we’ve got until the final whistle, and hopefully, it’s enough to get us over that line.”
Leyton Orient will be Latics’ sixth match in just 17 days as Adams aims to continue his remarkable fitness levels.
“Everyone says ‘oh, you look good for 35’, and I get a bit upset because they basically keep calling me an old man!
“I feel good and I take pride in my fitness because I got a bad injury a few years ago and a lot of people said that I probably wouldn’t play again or wouldn’t play at the level that I had been playing previously, however, I came back and proved them wrong.
“I love football, I love coming in every day, I hate missing training, never mind matchday. The first half of the season was just frustrating for me, missing nearly three months, so since I've come back in the New Year, I think that I’ve handled my fitness well, I’m blessed really because I'm a fit lad, and I think that everyone knows I’ll give 110% which will never change whether I’m 35 or 45, I'll always try and play like I’m an 18-year-old kid, so it should be a good example to the younger players.”
The visitors enter the clash on a five-game unbeaten run which includes three straight victories, so the versatile professional expects a tough outing against his former side.
“It’ll be a tough game, Richie (Wellens) has gone in, and he's done a good job, I think that he realised straight away that they've got some good players, but we know that there are no easy games at this level. On the flip side, they'll know that it's not an easy game for them.
“This week is big, and there's no hiding behind it. We had a little meeting, and I said that the gaffer’s already stressed that we were well adrift a couple of months ago, so if you’d have said with eight games to go, you’re just three points off safety, I think that a lot of people would’ve snatched your handoff. It's going to be close, but we've just got to make sure that we're in the mix. We’ve just got to make sure we put the pressure on the teams above us which I believe that we can do that.”
Adams heaped praise onto the fans for their constant and impressive support throughout the season and hopes it continues until the end of the campaign.
“I can't thank you the supporters enough for the way that they’ve been throughout the season. In terms of myself, they’ve always treated me excellent. And they've been great to the lads in the last couple of months since Shez and Tommy returned.
“We've seen a real turn, and they've been a million per cent behind us even when it's not been going great, they've supported us through thick and thin. We’d love it to continue and keep us on the right path for three points, and most importantly, stay in the EFL.”