Boro Player spoke to manager Gary Smith on Monday, looking back to the Preston North End tie on Saturday and ahead to the task at home to AFC Bournemouth on Tuesday evening.
Looking back to the weekend’s defeat, Smith described himself and his team as “very disappointed” and continued, “especially after such a terrific display on Tuesday night. The guys really showed what they’re about again, it was a wonderful display at home and a very good three points for us and it would have been wonderful to have backed that up with another decent display. We started slowly, found it very difficult to get into the game and subsequently Preston took advantage of that.”
Looking back to the victory over Brentford Smith said, “The display on Tuesday is what every coach and manager is after, it contained all of the energy, quality and desire that any team or manager would be after. On Saturday we just looked flat and lackluster, now that can of course be after a very difficult game on Tuesday night, our run of games has been tough, we’ve been playing Saturday Tuesday for a good while now so there are of course those question marks that hang over a number of games back to back but nevertheless this is a young, fit group, and a very capable one at that. The standards are high, they set them on Tuesday, or certainly got back to the sort of standard that the team is after, and it’s now a case of finding that form more often than not.”
After such a brilliant display though, many would have agreed with the decision to limit the changes he made to the side. James Dunne missed out through suspension but it was the only change, but Smith admitted that temptation was there to make a few more changes and that with hindsight it may have been the right choice – however he described the situation as “a catch 22”.
Smith told us, “I think when a team does that well, your initial instincts are to stay with that group. Of course, the only change made was James Dunne because of that suspension and my hope was that the continuity of keeping a winning group would take us in the right direction. The other angle of course is to have a fresher group and maybe looking back at the game, two or three other players that might have been able to come into it and add some fresh legs might well have helped us. But the guys on Tuesday earned their place and deserved certainly a crack at a good side up at Preston, unfortunately we fell short of what we needed to achieve.”
Next up is the Cherries visit to the Lamex and it is sure to be a tough task against a side battling for promotion, but on a run of five straight defeats.
“[It’s a] very tough game, Bournemouth are in a difficult patch themselves but also a very different position. I think they’ll be looking at the fact that five defeats on the spin is putting pay to what has otherwise been an incredible run since Eddie Howe took over. They’ve got themselves into a wonderful position in the league and I suspect that they’ll be well and truly looking forward to at least a top six finish.
“Of course, that comes with it’s own pressures. You’ve now got to win games at the business end of the season to secure that spot so whilst their squad is a very strong one, I’m sure that they’re feeling the pinch a little bit themselves with some poor results and we want to take advantage of that. We had a wonderful result last Tuesday at home, I’ve always said that those evening games at the Lamex are bright, they’re upbeat, when the crowd gets behind you – and we expect a good crowd this Tuesday – it creates a real good atmosphere and one that the plays want to be involved in. We’re looking forward to it, we want to bounce back and certainly want to take advantage of a Bournemouth side that have just dipped in form.”
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