COACHES’ CORNER: Tim Flowers Previews AFC Sudbury

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Ahead of Saturday’s league match, at home to AFC Sudbury (3:00 KO), manager Tim Flowers has provided a squad update, looked at tomorrow’s encounter and reflected on his matches thus far at Sporting, starting with last weekend’s game against Alvechurch…

“I don’t think they’ll be too many managers sat, in a position when a team is not actually safe, watching chances getting spurned against your local rivals and think it’s all fine and dandy.

I was disappointed, not with the performance so much but the wasting of the opportunities that we created, especially in the first half, with the wind in our favour. I can recall four decent chances where, really, you just need someone to stick their foot through it – but we passed those up.

You chat at half time about starting quickly and making sure that you get some territory and get up the pitch and, within two or three minutes of the restart, you find yourself counter-attacked from your own throw in. The lad cuts in on his favoured foot, which he shouldn’t be allowed to do, and ends up smashing it in the top corner.

I said after the game that, in fairness, it could have ended up anywhere – it could have ended up in Alvechurch village – but it didn’t. He middled the ball and it went straight in the top corner; you can’t afford those little details to keep going against you.

That’s what frustrated me a little bit but you reflect over the weekend and move on, because football is one of those businesses where it’s game after game, and you have to crack on.

Peter (Abimbola) trained last night and it will be good to see him. On Tuesday, Shaq (Leachman-Whittingham) kicked the bottom of somebody’s foot in training when he’s gone to shoot. He was in quite a bit of pain and had to pack in training. He didn’t train tonight and we’ll have him assessed – I’m sure I’ll hear from Gavin (Blackwell – sports physiotherapist) to see where Shaq is at pain-wise. Toba Obitayo has been out now for a period of time – I believe he’s done something again on Sunday, so he’s still a problem fitness-wise. Stan (Anaebonam) didn’t train on Tuesday due to a tweaked knee that he picked up at Alvechurch, which was in my mind when he came off that day. He trained tonight and that’s the good news for us so, other than that, I think we’re pretty much okay.

I think back to my first game, the St Ives Game. It wasn’t a great match and I don’t think St Ives had a shot on target – we had two or three and scored off two of them. It was more of a midfield slugfest, with both teams having to defend throw ins and set pieces. It wasn’t a classic, on a gusty, wet day. We went down to Hitchin and won after that, with ten men for virtually an hour, and to be honest you wouldn’t have known it was ten men, so that was a very good away performance. At Berkhamsted away, other than gifting two absolutely dreadful goals, we created a lot of chances again and missed them.

Two of our three wins have come at home and we’ve put in a good performance against Telford, which was unrewarded – another source of my frustration. I’d rather play badly and win to be honest. With the situation we’re in, it could just be a case of it being an awful game and we win, because that’s us done and dusted.

At the moment, we are creating, and we are getting teams on the back foot a little bit, but we’re not punishing them, so that’ll be the story of what I tell the lads – if we can get Sudbury on the hook, don’t let them off it. Sudbury will obviously look at it thinking it’s a chance. They’re in half decent form, having beat Telford at home a few weeks ago and Coalville last time out. They’re obviously fighting for their lives, as we are and, at the moment, it looks like us, them or Hitchin to fill that final relegation place.

I’d rather be in our position than Sudbury’s but, nevertheless, until it’s put to bed, there’s always that nagging feeling. I’ll be honest, from Sunday, all that’s been on my mind this week is this game. You can’t get it off your mind, so it’ll be nice if we could put in a good performance and then we’ll all know where we are next year in terms of what division this football club is in.

We’ve got three games to get a result and I’d like that to be sorted, done and dusted, on Saturday and then, as I’ve said before, I want to finish the season strongly. If we’d have put our chances away at Alvechurch, we’d have been doing alright but we didn’t and that’s our fault. We’ll talk about it with the guys and hopefully we can get the job done on Saturday.”

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