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21 March 2013

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Town still learning under new boss

It might be early days but John Still’s project is well under way.

A first home win was ticked off following Tuesday night’s win over Stockport County. Next on his checklist is to ensure his team rediscover their form in front of goal; and while all that’s going on he’s busy assessing every player in preparation for project promotion.

Chuck in 50,000 games – okay, the Town’s fixture congestion isn’t as bad as it is for some – and the bad weather (well we are in England) and the boss’ job is hardly plain sailing.

But improvement is there for all to see, and Still is keen to see his side’s progress continue when Tamworth are the visitors to Kenilworth Road on Saturday.

“The win on Tuesday has given us a lift, but I’ve never been one to look at one-off games,” the manager told the media at his press call on Thursday afternoon. “I think looking at one game is false. Take Everton for example. They lost 3-0 to Wigan and everyone’s thinking ‘has David Moyes taken them as far as he can?’ – and then they go and beat Manchester City.

“For us and the six games I’ve seen, I’ve been reasonably pleased. We did okay against Stockport. It wasn’t great but we won and I thought we deserved to win by more than one goal.

“We did well away to Stockport; I thought we did enough to beat Hereford when we only drew; and we were very, very poor against Hyde.

“Against Wrexham we were very, very good. It was a good, strong, solid performance. 

“I’m comfortable with what we’ve done so far but I’m looking for two more things at the moment, though: To score more goals; and to put games to bed a little bit earlier. On Tuesday we were 1-0 up and should have closed the game out. We can’t give the opposition the opportunity to score in the last five or 10 minutes.”

One stand-out performer in the win over County in midweek was midfielder Solomon Taiwo who played 90 minutes on his full debut.

The Nigerian, who Still signed and sold whilst with Dagenham, knows how the manager works.

And Still admitted that showed on Tuesday night, as the rest of the squad continue to adjust to the manager’s ideas.

“Solomon knows the job and how it’s done under me,” said the boss. “Other players are still learning but it does take time.

“It’s not helped playing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday because we can’t fit everything in. We only properly train on Thursday’s. You can’t really do much on Monday or Friday as you’re preparing for the games the next day. Thursday’s the only day to do what I call ‘constructive’ work. It’s not been easy for the players but gradually we’re getting there.”

The Town go into the game with the Lambs knowing a win would put them within seven points of the Play-Offs. Is it possible? A big case of “we’ll see” from the boss.

“I said to the players on Tuesday although I’ve not seen everything, I’ve seen enough, and I think we’ve done enough for the players to understand the philosophy of what we’re trying to do,” said Still.

“If we can just hold on to that a little bit, that might just enable us to get through the next couple of games positively and come out the other side saying ‘three games ago the table looked like that, now it looks like that a better situation for us to say hold on a minute aren’t we as far away from it as we might have thought’? I don’t know, that will unfold over the next few days.”

The boss talked about much more than just this though. Click here for the full 30 minutes of the boss' press call here on Hatters Player, which available for free on a 14-day trial.

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