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Robbo: We’ve made ‘significant improvement’

Q&A with our Head Coach ahead of League One match at Accrington

9 April 2021

Tomorrow's match at Accrington Stanley is another highly-pressurised fixture as we fight for League One points.

We caught up with Head Coach Mark Robinson and asked him about the team's current form, the mood in the camp - and how we can turn excellent possession into goals...

Q: Accrington Stanley this weekend. We’ve gone there in the past and had great results - but we’ve also been beaten out of sight by half-time. What are your thoughts about them?

A: “I know their manager John Coleman a little bit, and he has given me some sound advice on a couple of occasions. I am a big admirer of him and what they’ve done at Accrington. In many ways you look at what they’ve achieved after reading the stories about where they used to train. In fact, we have used them as an example to our academy lads when we've sometimes had parents moaning about training venues. What they’ve achieved since they’ve been in League One is outstanding. It's something we look to emulate and then go beyond in the future.”

Q: You've prepared for this game by training at Plough Lane. Why was that?

A: "One of the reasons was to be back at our home, to show the players why we are all together. We have talked about our purpose and I wanted to emphasise that we are all in this together. We are all in the same boat: whether you are on loan, have a contract next season, or if you haven’t. Also, the surface down at our training ground has got very dry. It’s a softer surface at Plough Lane and I wanted it to be an extensive training session.”

Q: We've just suffered a couple of undeserved defeats. Despite those results, do you see signs of improvement in the team?

A: I know some people have questioned whether there has been improvement, but the reason I’m standing in front of you now is because of the form we had in Glyn's last 11 games - two points and a goal difference of minus 19.

"If you repeated that form over a season it would give you nine points for the entire season and a goal difference of almost minus 80. We were in a very low place unfortunately and that’s why I’m here. The form since we’ve been together for 13 games, over the course of a season, would give us a points total of 50, which isn’t where we want to be, but we would probably take that now because it would keep us safe.

“There has been a significant improvement from a place that was very low to where we are now and some of the football we are playing."

Q: We got to meet our new mindset coach Steve Sallis recently. How much of an impact is he having?

A: “Steve makes an impact upon everyone: staff and players. Even more so now because we know where we need to improve. A lot of it is mental. When you are taking a group that’s very low in confidence to where we are, I think there’s been significant improvement. Steve has been a part of that, all the staff have been part of that, and the players have been a part of that, too.

Q: We seem to dominate possession but struggle in front of goal. Is this something you are working on?

A: "We are now looking at that final third, but that is the part of the pitch where the anxiety creeps in. I can’t make the players more anxious, but at the same time I have to give them a dose of reality after losing the last two games, and make them realise that we have to improve in that area. That’s what we will do.”

Q: It's great to see Paul Kalambayi is back in contention. He gives you another option for the run-in?

A: "We are all together and Paul coming back is very much a part of that. Everyone has got a part to play."

Q: What's the mood in the camp. Are the players up for the fight?

A: "The lads fully believe in what they are doing. I mentioned those stats earlier because there has been a massive improvement over 11 games. The lads realise that, but they are also fully aware that we’ve got to add those next layers on quickly to keep us safe. Once we have done that we know there’s going to be so much more to come in the future.”

Rob Cornell's full interview with Robbo is available to watch below.

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