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New manager aims to utilise Hanson’s talents

New manager interviewed ahead of his first game in charge

7 December 2018

Wally Downes believes that a fit-again James Hanson can be a big plus for the team in attack and he's aiming to get the best out of him in the coming weeks.

Since returning from injury, Hanson has edged towards full match fitness by featuring in the knockout games against FC Halifax and Chelsea Under-21s in the past week.

"One of the points I made in training is that we've got a guy up front who is a known performer in the division and he can be an absolute weapon for us," said Wally. "The more times we get the ball to him, the more successful we are going to be. The way we get the ball to him is largely up to them. I don't mind if it's the keeper kicking it 70 yards, I don't mind if they're passing it through the thirds, I don't mind if it's a cross. We've got Pigott and Hanson up front and if we think it's more productive to have the ball in our half keeping the ball for long periods without threatening the opposition, then that can't be right. I'm all in favour of getting the ball to those focal points and getting bodies around them."

Wally added that he's had a good response from the squad this week at the training ground and he was encouraged by the displays of young players at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

"It's been great around the place," added Wally. "The players have big ears, big eyes, they want to listen and learn. They seem to be taking on board what I'm trying to say to them. The team was a little mixed up the other night with the players that we wanted to have a look at. I was very impressed with Tyler (Burey) on the right wing, he came in and did great, and Toby, he played right-back, and in the second-half I was very encouraged by his performance. He got forward and got the ball into the box well. In the first-half we were a little bit ponderous and lacked a little bit of direction. In the last couple of days we've just been trying to put a little bit of focus on how we try to change that and play on the front foot a bit more.

"It's not about tweaking it, but I've identified that the mistakes are happening in both boxes – and Neal identified it as well. It's my job to give the players the opportunity not to make those errors. The longer we keep the ball out of our box and the quicker we get the ball into their box the better. Let's give the opposition the opportunity to make the mistakes.

"We've laid down a few ground rules. Nothing to do with how they play as footballers, I am not going to affect that in the short time I've been here, but I can certainly put them in positions tactically where we can make the most of having the ball and how we are going to attack teams. What they do with the ball, it's entirely up to them, but I've given them some situations where we can focus as a team and get the best out of these set plays within free play."

The full interview with Wally is available to watch on our iFollow channel.

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