Boss pleased with performance levels despite midweek defeat
There’s no time to ponder how exactly the Town lost in midweek as a dangerous Dartford side visit Kenilworth Road with a return to winning way's on Hatters minds.
After a frustrating evening where Paul Buckle’s men came away from Hereford pointless after 90 minutes of dominance, the Hatters boss remains confident his side can continue their good form despite Tuesday nights setback.
“I've been delighted with the way we've played, the performance levels and results,” said Buckle at the press conference on Thursday,
“We've been fantastic and I feel even after Tuesday night we are in the same pattern of play and the same mood we just didn't pick the points up.
“That can happen sometimes. It’s disappointing because we want to stay right on the tails of those at the top of the league. Four points isn't a massive amount and we know that if we continue the way we're playing we can go on another run again.”
With Buckle's side having over three times the amount of shots at goal and the lion-share of possession at Edgar Street it was clear to see why, despite the defeat, the manager was so upbeat about his side's performance.
“I don't feel we've come off it (the run),” said an upbeat Buckle. “I've looked at the game again, and I don't feel we've come off it in any shape or form. It will come good again, we've had 12 corners, 20 attempts on goal. If you keep doing that, and you stay tight at the back, you will win games, so for me there is no reason to change anything.”
Buckle, however, wants his team's attacking prowess to improve in certain areas.
“Flooding the 18-yard box a little bit more is something we've worked on,” he said. “We've looked at getting perhaps another midfielder from the opposite flank or even a full-back to add something different.
“It's all been very positive, it’s all about trying to get the first goal but sometimes that can prove difficult with the opposition setting up the way they have against us.”
It is no surprise that despite the defeat in midweek the mood and moral is one of optimism within the squad as the manager praised his side's terrific start to the campaign which has them settled firmly in the promotion hunt.
“I'm very, very pleased with the start and if you would have said to me at the start of the season we'd be right in there, I would have took that,” added Buckle.
Tony Burman's Dartford lie in the mix for a play-off spot themselves having made a fine start to life in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
They arrive at Kenilworth Road in sixth place and have caught a lot of people unaware to their sudden rise toward the summit.
And the boss was full of encouragement about the way the Darts have set about the division with a positive attitude.
“The Conference is getting stronger year by year and there are certainly no easy games,” Buckle said. “Sometimes after a promotion season teams go up and carry that on and that's certainly happened with Dartford.
“They've had a good start to the season and they look like they're having a right go at the league and fair play to them. They will come to Kenilworth Road looking forward to the game.
“I don't think they will park the bus, I've watched them a couple of times and I expect them to go for it.”
“I don't think you can keep parking the bus if you have any aspirations of being at the right end of the league, I think it's negative and it’s not something I'd like to do myself or watch, but we will focus on us and how we play.”
With top scorer Harry Crawford suspended from the fixture after his midweek dismissal against Forest Green Rovers and Adam Birchall's return to his parent club from the loan deal, the Darts’ will lack fire-power up front.
And if Dartford do apply the same defensive stance as many this season have done at Kenilworth Road it will not affect how Buckle's men enter the fixture.
“We're set up now, this is the whole point of working on different formations and players in unorthodox positions,” explained the manager. “I've taken off my centre halves on a number of occasions this season because we've had to.
“We've had to go for it and really try and open the game up. Sometimes that means leaving only one or two defenders back so it’s not easy to play against but it’s something we're getting used to now, and it’s something we've been working on in training.
“We've seen already this season that in those situations we are capable of breaking teams down, sometimes it does take a bit longer than you would like but the game is 90 minutes long and you have to be patient.”