Mark McGhee’s first few days in charge are rounded off with the away fixture against Port Vale on Saturday (18th).
We spoke with McGhee to see how he’s been getting on so far in training and how the squad is adapting to his managerial style:
“We’ve had three days of complete training and we’ve tried to squeeze as much in as we can. I’ve been trying to learn as much about them as possible and them learning about me and how we’re going to play.
“You can’t overload it, you can’t fix everything and introduce new ideas all in three days. Some of it will stick and some of it won’t but it’s a process, we’ll train again and again until the things that we need to do to improve performances and results start to bed in.”
The game against Port Vale has been dubbed a ‘six-pointer’ by some, something that McGhee doesn’t read into too much:
“An old chairman once said to me ‘If this is a six-pointer, let’s go out and get the six points’. I’m here to try and help things get better and I’m not going to do it in three days.
“It might improve enough to win the game and that’s what we’re hoping, but I think we can’t get too carried away. We’ve got 29 games to recover the situation, and it might take some of those to get it back.”
One thing that is possible however is a win on Saturday starting a run of results, but McGhee says people need to remain calm and take it game by game:
“I don’t think about football like that. I think one game at a time. If we win on Saturday, it no more guarantees we’ll win on Tuesday than any guarantees we’re going to win tomorrow. We literally do take it one game at a time. It’s a cliché, but it’s common sense.”
Our opponents Port Vale come into the game unbeaten in three across all competitions, with wins at home to Oxford United in the FA Cup and Crewe Alexandra in the Checkatrade Trophy. McGhee has been watching and has made sure the players know what they’re coming up against:
“I’ve done my homework, done my due diligence. We’ve got video, we’ve got reports, we know the way they play. We know what they’re about, we know their style of play and we know how they’re going to come at us.
“But we expect to combat that and punch back with our own ideas of how we might take the game to them as well.”
The squad has been plagued with injuries this season, but in our last game, Jamie Stephens, John Akinde and Shaquile Coulthirst all returned to the team, with the gaffer adamant this will almost certainly change the game:
“That’s everything, isn’t it. You get lucky sometimes as manager - you need your best players all the time to be successful. The best teams in the world are less with their best players missing.
“Now we’re getting them back they need fitness, games, finding their form, and obviously that’s what we want. I’m delighted to get some of these players back.”