Paul feels City can set the tempo
City manager Paul Tisdale is approaching Friday evening’s game against Accrington Stanley with a typically optimistic outlook at his team’s chances of taking all three points.
Laying towards the foot of the table and with games running out, Stanley will be doing their utmost to pinch every point they can as they look to merit survival. But Tis is confident that he has a squad of players at the moment that have proven time and again this season that they can overcome a variety of opposition.
I try to go into every game looking to win it, regardless of the opposition,” said Tis ahead of the Accrington match. “So I certainly wouldn’t insult any particular team by saying we’ve got more of a chance than another.
“We will treat them with the appropriate amount of respect and look at what they can do as a team. But on the other hand we should be bullish about how we play, and I don’t think we should go into the game with anything other than the thought of winning it, as we always do.”
And with it being an atypical Friday evening fixture, it offers City the chance to put the pressure on the other promotion candidates that are playing on Saturday by taking the points against Stanley. Tis is keenly anticipating the prospect of an evening kick-off and the special atmosphere that it can create around St James Park.
“I’m very much looking forward to it,” he said. “There’s a fresh feel to the game – it just feels different. We have no reason to be negative about it.
“We have to approach the game and take it for what it is – it’s an evening game, and I hope we get a good crowd and a few people that ordinarily can’t make it on a Saturday. I hope it’s a good crowd.”
Unfortunately the squad will be a little thinner than Tis would have liked, with Alan Gow being ruled out for the immediate future with an ankle injury, amongst a batch of injuries to potentially influential players.
“Liam Sercombe is still a long way from being fit,” he admitted. “John O’Flynn is getting closer and is probably recovering quicker than we thought, so he’s possibly pushing to be fit in a week or two’s time. Matt Oakley is recovering well and shouldn’t be too long.
“The disappointing news is that Alan Gow’s ankle injury seems a lot more severe than we thought, and he’s going to be a considerable amount of time out injured. So we’re not sure yet how soon he’ll be looking to return.
“It’s a considerable injury and we haven’t got a precise time on it – we’re still going through the process of seeing how the ankle reacts to certain treatment. We’re trying to get the swelling down, and trying to get him functional. It’s not like a broken bone where you can predict healing times – this is a bit more involved. It’s very disappointing, notably for him.”
But in spite of the lack of numbers, Tis is more than happy with the contribution that his fully-fit players have been making in the absence of the casualties. Indeed, he insists that it is an opportunity for some of the players that have been on the fringes of the first team to step into their shoes and make their contributions in the final months of the campaign.
“I think with a squad to pick from, I’ve always got an opportunity to pick a team capable of winning any game, home or away. The downside of having injuries is that the bench becomes depleted, and I don’t have as many opportunities to change during a game, or change from one game to the next.
“The players that played at Morecambe are all first-team players – they’re all capable of getting results, as they did. It just means the bench becomes younger and more inexperienced, and it’s something we’ll have to put up with for the next week or two.
“But players will get their chance – Jimmy Keohane is now considered in my mind to be a first-team player, and he got his chance by an injury in October when Alan Gow and John O’Flynn were injured.
“It’s going to be frustrating for me not to have my full side out – I haven’t got that ability to play an out-and-out creative player like Alan. But Guillem Bauza has made a return after being out on most of the season unfit, and is coming back to fitness and he’ll play a part.
“I’m a manager, I have to be optimistic. In my own mind, I’m always creating the positive outlook with any situation. So it’s the time for others to step forward, and I certainly trust in Jimmy, Guillem, John O’Flynn and others. I trust in them.”