Graham Stack says that he is thriving in his new role as player-coach, and cannot wait for the chance to extend Barnet’s winning start to the new season against Lincoln City at The Hive on Saturday.
Speaking ahead of the game, the goalkeeper said:
“I’m very much looking forward to it. It will be a tough test. They are a good side from what I remember last year, I’m sure that they have had one or two changes but they are a big club and they will have expectations this year of doing much better than they did last season.
“We’re expecting a tough game, they are a well-organised, physical team that try and pass it around as well so it will be a tough test but one that we are really looking forward to.”
Stack admits that spirits are high in the camp following a perfect start to the new campaign, and feels that the team’s early success has not only come about through their efforts on the pitch, but also those of supporters in the stands:
“The lads are on a real high at the minute. Don’t get me wrong, we are all keeping our feet on the ground but there has been a nice atmosphere about the place and a good working environment.
“There was also a lot of talk after a game on Tuesday amongst the players about the how the atmosphere that we had here was different class. The supporters were outstanding and it gave us a real lift. It was loud and it was noisier than it has been in the past so hopefully there can be a real togetherness around The Hive this season.
“It is another home game on Saturday so it is another opportunity for the fans to get right behind us and another chance for us to give a little bit back to them as well.”
Stack has yet to concede a goal during the 2014/15 season, saving a first-half penalty at Chester on the opening days as well as making some excellent saves in both matches. However, he is quick to acknowledge that a lot of the credit for Barnet’s watertight defence must go to his teammates:
“I’m absolutely delighted, as a goalkeeper I obviously pride myself on clean sheets. But I must also say as a group, those clean sheets go for every single one of us.
“That’s not just me, that’s not just the back four, but the midfielders as well, and big John Akinde who comes back and defends set pieces, Charlie MacDonald who sometimes drops in as a midfielder, the wingers tracking full-backs.
“Everyone has played a part in it. It’s a team effort and I think if we keep defending like we have done then we’ll be seeing many more clean sheets this season.”
Stack was appointed as a player-coach by Martin Allen along with Jon Nurse during the summer, and says that the transition has been made easy by having other responsible heads in the dressing room to share the load:
“You need leaders in the group and you need different voices as well. You can’t always have the same voices continually and hope that it always has that same effect.
“If you can involve the experienced pros, such as Charlie and Curtis, and we’ve got one or two others in there like Togs and Lee Cook, then they can all play their part.
“Whether it is vocally, or the way that they train or the way that they go in the gym; whatever it is about their application, to have three or four really experienced lads who can lead has been a big help because it takes some of the weight off of people’s shoulders.
“If we do that as a group collectively then I think that it is going to help everyone.”