Head coach looks ahead to today's game...Welcome to the staff, players and supporters of Barnsley to the Banks’s Stadium for today’s game.
At the time of writing these notes, Liverpool v Man City is on the television, with the Anfield team currently running riot against arguably the strongest squad in the division.
A team of motivated individuals, putting the disappointment of their Capital One Cup final defeat behind them to perform at a high level and focus on the now rather than on the past and the ‘what could have been’ - a great lesson to learn and re-learn and something that our own team continue to do.
If Man City aren’t going to win the Premier League it isn’t ability they will lack, it’s those intangibles, factors like resolve, resilience, honesty, determination and commitment - all adjectives that encapsulate the character of a team.
As a coach or manager we can take great pride when your team keeps trying to do the right things when circumstances or the opposition make it difficult or awkward for us to consistently win.
Behaviours will dictate what you can actually achieve, not empty words and promises. What’s different now is that expectations cloud the issue.
We all understand how important it is for everyone connected to the football club to finish the season as we began it. But we have to make sure that expectations inspire us rather than inhibit us. That will be different for every player and every supporter as we all perceive things differently. There is no right or wrong; everyone’s option is valid but trust is a great asset to have within a squad in a division and it is that trust that will underpin what can be achieved by this group of players this season.
I have been asked many times about additions to the squad in the past few weeks and I understand the interest because it has been a long time since the club has been in this position.
But there is a delicate balance between making additions for the sake of it, externally being seen to ‘strengthen the squad’, while internally risking destabilizing and upsetting the trust within the squad that has got us to this point.
At the time of writing we are in the process of finalizing a loan agreement to bring Jordy Hiwula back to the Banks’ Stadium; someone who has been here before, understands the philosophy and playing style of the club, knows the players and how the squad operates and who will hopefully fit seamlessly back into the swing of things. Nine goals in 19 games and his eye-catching performances during his last spell helped him secure a move to Championship side Huddersfield. We welcome Jordy and look forward to what we all hope will be a fruitful contribution to our season.
Speaking to the Scunthorpe coaching staff after Tuesday’s game, they felt their upturn in form – four wins in six before their visit to the Banks’s – has come off the back of all the pressure being taken off the players to achieve anything this season.
Pressure can be a good thing, as it gets players on edge to perform at their best week in, week out.
In addition to Man City’s performance, Spurs have just lost at West Ham, and Arsenal have been defeated by Swansea, with the race for the top four as topsy-turvy as the race for the title. It is not just the Premier League where the team that can hold its nerve and use the pressure positively for longest that will ultimately be successful.
Please continue to support your local team.