COACHES’ CORNER: Gavin Hurren previews Stratford Town & Biggleswade Town

Ahead of our first two league matches of 2022, away to Stratford Town (1st Jan – 1:00 KO) and Biggleswade Town (3rd Jan – 3:00 KO), manager Gavin Hurren has previewed both fixtures, as well as reflecting on our match versus Stourbridge and providing a squad update.

“Against Stourbridge, it was fantastic support from the Sporting fans, with a massive attendance. It was great to see everybody there.

“It was a shame we didn’t get the result we wanted but it wasn’t through not trying. I felt we didn’t capitalise when we had some great chances in the first half.

“Having looked back at the sending off, I still think it was harsh but it is what it is. Decisions like that can change games but the guys never stopped going or working hard and kept fighting to the last whistle.

“I felt Ollie Taylor had a really good game in between the sticks in his debut for the club.

“We’re going to lose games of football – that’s guaranteed. We have to make sure we always learn from it, that we come with a positive mindset and try and put things right.

“That’s football – you win, you lose and you draw. You can’t get too carried away when you win or go on an unbeaten run and it’s not the end of the world when you lose a game, as long as you lose it in the right way and the lads give their all.

“There’s a lot of games left, a lot of points to be played for and the most important thing is that we, as a football club, are still in this league at the end of the season. I believe, if we continue with the correct application and mindset and sticking to gameplans, we can come out with positive results every time we step out on the field.

“It is a blow that we still have Joel Kettle (family commitments), Charlie Wise and Callum Ebanks (both COVID) and Miro Pais (injury) still unavailable, but this is what having a squad is all about. People get a chance and they have to try and perform.

“Charlie Wise’s isolation is up but it’s just seeing if he feels okay. Miro will have a fitness test but I still think he is one or two weeks away, so we’ll see how he is at tonight’s training session.

“Stratford are a well organised, very good team. I faced them earlier in the season and they’ve got some fantastic players. We’ve got to go there with a gameplan, stick to it, and play with a positive mindset.

“It’s a quick turnaround before Biggleswade, so we’ll need to keep assessing injuries and COVID. We need to take each game as they come.

“Biggleswade will be a bit of a trip but again, with the right mindset, and hopefully some of the personnel back (Ebanks, Wise, Kettle), it’s only going to benefit us and make us a stronger team.

“It’s vital we keep going and keep getting these points on the board, as it’s really tight from ninth to all the way down to the bottom of the league. In doing so, we can move away from the relegation places. I’m immensely proud with how the lads have applied themselves since I’ve been here and we go again.

“Finally, I wish everybody a Happy New Year!”

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