COACHES’ CORNER: Tim Flowers Previews ALVECHURCH

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Ahead of tomorrow’s league match, away to local rivals Alvechurch (3:00 KO), manager Tim Flowers has given an in-depth reflection on our last few games. He also provides the latest news on the squad and looks at our opponents…

“I look back on some of the games prior to me coming in and a little bit of a story was that we were letting in poor goals in games and managed to shoot ourselves in the foot – that obviously improved with the first couple of games, but it then reappeared against Berkhamsted at the Victoria Ground and then we go away and it reappears twice in the reverse fixture, in a game that we pretty much dominated and were the better side in for most of it, with Ollie (Taylor) not having a lot to do.

Obviously we were terrific against Needham – there’s no doubt about that. Our first half performance basically blew them away and they found it hard to deal with our intensity and physicality. You’re then going into the Bank Holiday hoping to build on that. Coalville were, in all fairness, the better side in the first half. They had a couple of lads who were getting into areas to counter attack rather than defending and they were a problem. Tom McGlinchey, who’s a very good player at the level, and Terell Pennant, who’s rapid, caused us problems but, again, we had a massive hand in their goal. We were better in the second half with a slight change in shape and should have got a point with the last kick of the game when we miss an absolute sitter from a corner – again, it’s an example where we’ve been profligate with our taking of chances.

Then Telford, again first half, unless I’m seeing a different game, we battered them. There was a lot of whinging and moaning going on about the physicality and the tempo of our game and I thought they found it hard to deal with if I’m honest. We got our noses in front, their keeper makes a great save shortly after which hit the post, and then it’s 1-1 right on half time, when we should be seeing it out and making sure we’re going in at 1-0. They go into the break level pegging and then, in the last 10 minutes, as I said after the game, a guy that has probably scored about two goals in his career pops up from left back into the right hand side of the box and heads it from about 16 yards and somehow, it creeps into the net off a deflection.

You just look at it and think, how have we not got a point at least out of the game? The truth of the matter is, we haven’t and there is a denominator and it’s, at one end, when we create, we seem to have to create three or four chances to score, and at the other end, if it’s tight, we always seem to find a way to give somebody a chance that they haven’t really earned. So, it’s something you’ve got to look at but it’s very late in the day. Coming in with 11 games to go, I haven’t even had the scope to rip the whole thing up and start again – I’ve just had to try and tweak things really.

There aren’t a lot of bodies available at that time of the season anyway, so it wasn’t easy to get the new additions over the line but we managed to and we’ve been competitive. But, I said to the lads after the game, we’ve thrown four points away at least in the past seven games and, if you add them to your total, then you’d be in a totally different position but, as it is, we’ve still got work to do.

We’re not safe mathematically and we’ve still got things we want to do but we need to be better than just scraping over the line. We need to be making sure we get results and get this team up the division and then, hopefully, there’ll be a progression next season.

Peter Abimbola is fine after Monday and he has trained this week. He probably ran about 20k in three days; the lad covers every inch – he’s a proper athlete. He took a whack with five minutes to go and I thought lets just get some fresh legs on there and give him a break. Toba (Obitayo) reported a groin issue on Sunday morning and then wasn’t fit for Monday. He hasn’t been fit to train so I would assume he’s a major doubt to be involved on Saturday. Keanu Cooper couldn’t play Monday because of work commitments and couldn’t train on Thursday due to some dental work and, at this time, I don’t know what his availability is tomorrow but we should just about have enough to cover the bench if those two aren’t available.

Judging by the reaction, I think the supporters thought the lads gave everything they’ve got and gave a team in Telford, that were third and flying, a real tough game. If you listen to Kevin Wilkin (Manager) after the game, he said it was the hardest game of the season they’d had.

Kyle Storer and Jared Hodgkiss (Players) both contacted me after the game and said, without a doubt, that’s been their hardest game, and they don’t have to bother saying that to me because they’re well in their thirties and I know they’re not going to phone me up and say that for no reason.

I think they knew they were in a game, but we’ve got to start making sure that we fall on the right side of those fine lines more often than we’re doing because, at the moment, we’re doing well but we’re killing ourselves with one or two poor decisions within the game.

Alvechurch are a footballing team – they’re young, they’ve got four lads up front who are very quick and they like to move the ball around in the final third quickly, with little give and goes. We’ve got to try and implement our game on them and stop their strengths and the way they want to play – it’s quite clear that’s what football is all about.

In the end, whether it’s a derby or not, we need to go into the game looking to get on the front foot, pin them in, make it hot and heavy for them and stop their quality which they’ve got up to. They’ve got players who can hurt you and I’ll talk about them with the boys. We need a result and we’ll go there trying to get one.”

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