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Interviews

Thompson On Return To Home Action

3 October 2023

Interviews

Thompson On Return To Home Action

3 October 2023

Steve Thompson wants Latics to make the most of home of advantage as they approach back-to-back games at Boundary Park.

His side return to OL1 this evening for the visit of Maidenhead United before hosting Dagenham & Redbridge at the weekend.

The draw at Wealdstone on Saturday means Latics have claimed ten points from Thompson’s four matches in interim charge and he wants to use the home games as a further opportunity to kick on.

“Saturday was another tough away game and we had to grind out a result,” he said.

“I thought we looked a bit leggy and that was reflected in the performance but we dug in to earn a point.

“We had the players in on Monday and the lads looked good. We’re mindful that we’re in the middle of a very busy run of games but we’re doing our best to make sure they remain fresh for the matches coming up.

“I’ve got a few selection decisions to make ahead of the game. We won’t take anyone lightly but we’ve got two big opportunities coming up with these home games and we want to be targeting two wins.

“It’s a chance for us to kick on up the league and we’re looking forward to being back at home.

“It’s important that we respect the opposition. Maidenhead had a good result against Chesterfield at the weekend so no doubt they’ll take a lot of confidence form that.

“From our point of view, we’ve got to make sure we focus our own game at home, play to our strengths and make sure our level of performance is right.

“The players are aware of how important these games are and we’ve got to be focused on taking full advantage.”

With six fixtures in the space of three weeks, time on the training ground has been limited but Thompson has been pleased with the overall reaction of the squad.

He added: “We’re coming into this game on the back of a long trip and we’ve tried our best over the last few weeks to give the players as much rest as possible.

“I went into Monday’s session thinking that a few of the lads might have been struggling with their recovery after Saturday but I had a good chat with them and I’m pleased with how they have responded.

“We’ve not had a free week recently which has limited our opportunity to try different things on the training ground so there are still a lot of things for us to work on.

“We’ve been trying to drip-feed as much as we can into the players in terms of new information. We’ve made our expectations clear and have tried to work on different ideas for our shape.

‘We’re approaching these games with a positive mindset and we want that to be shown in the way we perform.”

Saturday’s draw saw the return of midfielder Josh Lundstram as a substitute and Thompson took encouragement from his showing.

“I’ve always said that we want competition for place with quality players and Josh’s return to fitness certainly gives us that,” he said.

“Josh brings something different to the table, there’s no doubt about that. We were disappointed to lose Dan [Gardner] due to injury, but Josh can drive through lines, he can see a pass and he’s different to the other midfield options we’ve got.

“We were pleased that Josh came through fine on Saturday, he was unscathed after a long road to recovery and he trained well on Monday.

“I’ve said to the players who are playing that they need to work to keep the shirt and they've all got a part to play in keeping this run going.”

On Monday, Latics were handed an away tie against Altrincham in the FA Cup and Thompson is looking forward to the tie.

“It’s a local fixture against a team we know well and I’m sure we’ll take a great following there,” he added.

“Every club wants a good run in the FA Cup and it's a competition that we value a lot as a club. It’s a game we’re looking forward to and we want to do ourselves justice.

“Moss Lane is a tough place to go and it’ll be important that we approach the game in the right manner. We won’t underestimate them and we know that we’ll need to be on our game.

“We’ve got two key league games before then and we want to make sure that we go into that cup tie on the back of two wins.”


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