Hard work Squad set for mini pre-sea­son ahead of derby

Gloucestershire Echo - - SPORTING INDEX -

CHEL­TENHAM Town’s play­ers are set for a mini pre-sea­son ahead of their derby clash with For­est Green Rovers on Oc­to­ber 20.

With no game this week­end af­ter the game with Yeovil Town was called off due to the Glovers’ in­ter­na­tional callups, man­ager Michael Duff will take the chance to get his play­ers up to speed af­ter a hec­tic start to his reign at Whad­don Road.

Duff is still with­out a win af­ter last week­end’s 3-0 loss at high-fly­ing Mil­ton Keynes Dons, mean­ing his side have lost to the sides in first, sec­ond and fourth in League Two in re­cent games.

But Duff is hop­ing the free fort­night will al­low him to fully es­tab­lish his style and meth­ods on the play­ers he in­her­ited from ex-boss Gary John­son.

Duff said: “You can put your head in your hands and feel sorry for your­self, but we have a big two weeks com­ing up now.

“We have to get a lot of work into them tech­ni­cally, tac­ti­cally and phys­i­cally.

“We are in this po­si­tion so it’s up to us to get out of it.

“They are a good set of lads, but they need to be more ruth­less with each other I think.”

Duff is used to in­ter­na­tional breaks hav­ing worked at Burn­ley and said: “It is about get­ting as much work into them as pos­si­ble be­cause it doesn’t get any eas­ier and we have two tough away games next.

“This two weeks is go­ing to be as close as I’ll get to a pre-sea­son with them and a lot of work need to be done.

There will be for long days, with hard work and that was the plan any­way, even if we’d won or drawn with Mil­ton Keynes it was al­ways go­ing to be the case.”

Next up is For­est Green, who went into this week­end’s game at Northamp­ton as the Foot­ball League’s only un­beaten side.

But Mark Cooper’s men have won four and drawn eight of their 12 games, with one win and six draws at home.

Duff said: “We look for­ward to ev­ery game and each one is the next chal­lenge, whether you are win­ning, los­ing or draw­ing it’s one game at a time.

“We know we need to be bet­ter in a few de­part­ments, but they have to take the chal­lenge on. We take the pos­i­tives and peo­ple will look at the re­sult and get dis­torted by the 3-0, but it wasn’t a 3-0 game.”

The Robins were 1-0 down af­ter 34 min­utes to Chuks Aneke’s goal and then con­ceded two more af­ter Aden Bald­win was car­ried off to Rhys Healey and Rob­bie Simp­son’s stop­page-time penalty.

Duff said: “It’s dif­fi­cult from a play­ing point of view be­cause they are hu­man be­ings and they’ve seen one of their mates get in­jured and it doesn’t look great.

“You can learn, but I don’t need to re­mind the play­ers as they know they switched off.

“I didn’t think it was a 3-0 game and up un­til 80 min­utes I thought we more than matched them. The ref­eree missed a clear foul for the first goal and I thought we should have had a penalty as well in the first half. “There was no way it was a 3-0 game. “The last 10 min­utes and in­jury time it looked like a top of the league team against a bot­tom of the league team, but I am not fo­cus­ing on the last 10 min­utes, I am on about the first 80 min­utes which I thought we came away to a top club and big club at this level, with a big ground and a big bud­get and I thought we more than com­peted.

“I thought we more than matched them.

“For the first five min­utes we were a lit­tle bit off, but af­ter that we passed and pressed and looked like a dan­ger­ous team.”

Ja­cob Mad­dox bat­tles with Dean Lew­ing­ton in the de­feat to MK Dons

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