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Website last updated: 2 Mar, 2015 @ 16:00
Joint-manager, Mike McDonald spoke to Adam Bailey after the 2-1 victory against West Didsbury and Chorlton.
First of all congratulations on being announced as the joint-manager for next season along with Steve Hardy. You must be really pleased that you have been given the opportunity to stay on?
“We are because it is difficult when you are trying to build something and you don’t really know what the future holds. When you talk to players, we have been talking to a lot of players casting the net wider trying to get players for next season, the first question they ask is what are you doing next season. There are a lot of rumours going about, we have heard the rumours that different people were coming in to take the job. So we had a meeting with the committee and board last Monday and sat down with them and they said that they are happy and want us to carry on, they announced it last week, so it gives us a platform to start building on, so yes we are very pleased.”
Onto this afternoon’s game, it was a hard-fought victory in the end.
“It was something that we haven’t done at this club for a long time which is dug in. We dug in and battled and got the result. Other times, previous to this season we would have probably lost that game or maybe drawn it. But the boys have done fantastically considering that they don’t know that the goalkeeper Martin could not kick the ball. Because the paperwork for Dale Eve [goalkeeper on loan from Stoke City] has been lost and the FA did not have it so Dale could not play today. So Martin, too be fair [still carrying his hamstring injury] had to play and he was fantastic [and made] two really, really good saves. We were panicking a wee bit about the ball but he has done fantastic and the players have done brilliantly so we are very pleased with everything.”
The win was Congleton’s fourth win on the bounce after five successive defeats. So what has changed?
“The attitude of the players also Steve and I made the conscious effort that we knew we had to change things as everybody knows now we have brought in five new players so there is freshness about the dressing room, there is a willingness to listen to what me and Steve are staying. Maybe previous players because of what was happening never really listened to what we had to say and how we wanted the game to be played. But now these players are beginning to listen, beginning to get it and the thing is when you get results and when you get victories it is easy because they will listen and say oh yeah we got a result we will do it that way. We have worked hard on fitness because it was a hard game last Saturday and a very hard game on Tuesday night and it was a hard game today but we are still working hard because near the end there we are chasing, we have four against two up there. The boys are a lot fitter than what they were and it was a conscious effort we made to make sure of that.”
It must also be pleasing to see that the players you have brought in have had a positive influence on the team? You brought in Scott McGowan who has already scored three goals since he joined and set-up Congleton’s opening goal this afternoon.
“We knew that. It was Steve who knew Scott from previously so when we got the shout Steve was in there right away and he told us what he would bring to the table and you have seen it today. He is not only a goal scorer but he can make goals as well and he always plays on the last man, making it difficult for centre-halves. And it is great for them because it is always difficult when you come to a new club but, too be fair, they have all hit the ground running and got goals and things like that. But again, them all, apart from the goalkeeper, but the four have not played for a long time so have struggled for match fitness, not fitness but match fitness which is totally different, so three games in a week will help them a lot. A lot of them may not have been as good today as they were in the previous two games but that is only understandably but you just keep working away and they did work hard. And they will get better, give them a couple of weeks and a couple of matches under their belt and they will get better and they will settle into the system we are playing. No, no we are really pleased.”
On Congleton’s next game away at Silsden next Saturday:
“This game [West Didsbury and Chorlton] could bite us in the bum as we can’t take anything for granted, we have to put it behind us and look forward to Silsden next week away, which is going to be a very, very hard game. They are a very difficult side, a very physical side they are about 5th or 6th in the table but winning breeds confidence and there is a lot of confidence in the dressing room.”
Finally, it was the draw for the Cheshire Senior Cup semi-final this week, which saw Congleton drawn at home to Northwich Victoria. They are in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One but Congleton do like being the underdogs. So can your team cause an upset in a few weeks time?
“At the end of the day, we have nothing to lose really, there is no pressure on us, there is no pressure on us at all so we can just go out there and play. To be fair I would have really liked to play at their place because our pitch is struggling a wee bit and their pitch will be better than ours and it would probably suit us because we are a better footballing side. They will not like coming here because they have been here in pre-season and struggled, we played them last season and we beat them so they will not wanting to come here and will know what it is all about. But again we can relax, enjoy it. It would be lovely to get to the final, it would be great for the boys for all their hard work and the supporters, it would be great for the supporters to get to the final but that is a wee while a way we have to take Silsden first and then go from there.”