Manager Paul Cox has emphasised the tightness of the Sky Bet League Two table ahead of this weekend’s match away to Dagenham & Redbridge.
As a result of Tuesday’s disappointing 4-1 defeat to Bury at One Call Stadium, we dropped three places to 20th position in the table – and to within six points of the relegation zone.
Remarkably, however, we could climb as high as seven places with a win at the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Stadium on Saturday – a team who we beat 3-0 at One Call Stadium in the early weeks of the season.
“The league is so tight that we’re seven points from the team in eighth place in the division with 14 games left, but on the other flip side we’re only six points off [the team who are] second bottom,” said Cox.
“It’s a ‘mad’ league this year, and there are so many teams that are very even in everything – from the players to the finances to how long they’ve been in the league.
“It’s a tough league and I think we’ve just got to go and earn the right [to win matches]. We know what’s infront of us, we know what we’ve got to do and we cant sit and harper on about a bad result.”
Reflecting on the defeat to Bury, Cox said: “It was a poor performance. We’re not going to hide away from that fact. I thought in every facet of the game that they were better than us.
“In the majority of games we’ve competed so it was a poor night for us, but there’s nothing we can do about it now. We can’t sit and feel sorry for ourselves, we’ve got to pick ourselves up and just get on with things.
“There are some big games coming up and we can’t let that performance hanker in the back of our minds.”
Our manager added: “I don’t think it’s systems that win games, its players that win games. We beat a very efficient and good side in Fleetwood on Saturday, playing the same system.
“We also did very well at Oxford, albeit we lost the game, and some supporters said the Oxford and Fleetwood games were the best that they’ve seen us play this season.
“So I’m not buying into [the theory] that systems decide the match. Its players and I thought we looked a little bit tired and jaded.”
On the injury front, winger Louis Briscoe resumed training earlier this week and completed a full 90 minutes in last night’s Final Third Development League match against Scunthorpe United.
Despite a 3-0 defeat, our second-string dominated territorially for long spells at Kirklington Road, but were unable to break down a resolute Iron side, who netted all three goals after the re-start.
Cox added: “Reserve games at this stage of the season are just about fitness. I just wanted everyone to come through with 90 minutes under their belt, working hard and gaining good match-fitness.
“It was a really competitive game with some tackles flying in, but the boys worked hard. In the first half, we could have been two or three to the good, but we need to start putting away our chances right throughout the club.
“It got people like ‘Hutch’ (Ben Hutchinson), Lindon (Meikle), Oliie Palmer and Ross Dyer match-fitness and another game. ‘Muz’ (Adam Murray) and Jamie McGuire also got 90 minutes.
“We’re going to need everyone between now and the end of the season. I think there will be some twists and turns and surprises, so we need to stay focused on what we want to achieve.”