Barnet Football Club



Martin Allen: “The players have responded magnificently”

Martin Allen spoke to this afternoon, ahead of Saturday’s clash with Northampton Town.

The Bees’ manager began by looking back on Barnet’s recent run of results, saying:

“It was a good performance against Cambridge United, I thought that we played very well.

“There were a couple of moments in the game that cost us dear – lapses of concentration.

“But overall I thought it was a very good performance away from home, and I’m very pleased with the players.

“There were a lot of positives to take from the game and obviously a few things to work on.

“The team have been playing much better in recent weeks.

“I decided after the FA Cup game against Newport that we had to change things.

“I wasn’t happy with how that day panned out, as has been well documented.

“There’s been a lot of work on the training pitch, we’ve changed some personnel around, and we’ve had some difficult decisions to make.

“It needed to improve, and the players have responded magnificently well.

“They’ve been very receptive to the extra work on the training pitch, and I think the performances have been very good.

“Newport County had only lost one game in their previous 12 before they played us on Boxing Day – some people said that they’re not a very good team, but their record suggests that they’re doing quite well.

“Crawley are also doing quite well, and that was a comfortable victory against them.

“People may say that Yeovil away was a case of points dropped because we were winning.

“But Barcelona were winning two nil the other day, and they drew 2-2.

“So it can happen at the top level – it can happen at any level where you don’t manage to see games out.

“I see that Yeovil drew with Oxford 0-0 at home on Monday.

“So we’re doing ok.

“There are definitely things to improve, but there has definitely been an improvement.”

John Akinde has been in good goal scoring form in recent weeks and Martin reflected on his upturn in form, saying:

“John’s worked very hard on his game.

“I think the change of formation and style has helped him.

“The different way of playing has certainly helped him – he’s not having to do so much running, fighting and battling.

“It’s also helped that Aaron McLean has been playing so well.

“The pair of them have a nice little partnership going now, and John looks much happier.

“I think there are a lot more goals to come from him.”

Martin provided Barnet supporters with an injury update ahead of the trip to Sixfields, saying:

“After three games in two days we gave all the players two days off.

“That’s pretty standard in terms of recovery.

“Luke Gambin has trained with us this morning and has looked very bright.

“Josh Clarke’s not fit; he hasn’t recovered from his hamstring injury.

“Mauro Vilhete has come back to Barnet because he’s picked up a hamstring strain at Boreham Wood.

“So he’s been back in this morning – he’ll have a couple of weeks of treatment and then we’ll review Mauro’s position with Boreham Wood.

“Jamie Stephens isn’t fully fit yet, so we’re hoping to get something tied up with Man City for Ian Lawlor.

“If not, we’ve got our young keeper Kai McKenzie-Lyle to come in and play.

“Apart from that, just about everyone is fit – apart from a few of us having colds and a touch of flu like Luke had.

“We’ll work out what the team will be for Saturday on Friday morning.”

The Bees manager went on to discuss Saturday’s opponents:

“They’ve got good players,” he said.

“They’ve got a lot of players that I’ve made enquiries about, but they’re well out of our range.

“Northampton are near the top of the league, and so they should be.

“They’ve got good players right the way through their team and on their bench.

“Chris Wilder has put together a tremendous side.

“There’s no doubt that they’ll be playing at a higher level next season, and rightly so.”

Finally Martin Allen praised the Barnet travelling support against Cambridge United, saying:

“It was a tremendous following up there at Cambridge.

“They sung their hearts out right through until the very end.

“Of course there’s an element of disappointment after seeing you’re team play so well and not come away with anything.

“We had chances to go two nil, or maybe even three or four nil up.

“I’m sure that every supporter who went there will say that it was a good performance.

“The players have given everything that they’ve got.

“They played good football and it was good on the eye to watch.

“Northampton away is another little trip up the M1.

“I do respect that it’s an expensive time of year for all families, with Christmas presents and all the other bits that go alongside Christmas.

“The two away trips to Cambridge and Northampton are expensive.

“For those who can make it on Saturday, we’re looking forward to seeing you and hearing you.

“For those who can’t make it, we’ll do our best to bring some points back to London.”