COACHES’ CORNER: Tim Flowers Previews Berkhamsted

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Ahead of Saturday’s league match at Berkhamsted (3:00 KO), manager Tim Flowers has spoken about last weekend’s game, the importance of the whole squad and our brilliant travelling support…

“In terms of last week’s draw, I think its how you look at it. A few weeks ago, somebody would have snapped your hands off for a home draw. With all due respect to the players, we’ve got seven out of nine points. It’s been a good response from the players – I think if this club had have played Berkhamsted in the first 20 games, we probably would’ve found it a lot easier.

“I’ve said before, they clearly haven’t thrown any towels in. They’re competitive, they’ve got a new management team in place now and so they’ve brought some players in. They’re having a go, and you can see by their reaction when they scored (against us) that it meant something to them.

“As far as we’re concerned, I thought we created more than enough chances to win the game when I’ve looked back at it – obviously there’s the penalty, then Nathan (Blissett) has another chance where he just toe-ends it wide and there’s a chance off a free kick when Ben Richards-Everton is in, so there was more than enough chances to win it. It was more the goal we conceded that was the disappointment, because it was such a poor goal – things happen like that at the highest level in football, so we take our draw and we move on.

“Every player in this squad who is fit is contending for a start – otherwise they wouldn’t be here. When you’re named on the bench, your job is to come on and make an impact. If you come on and don’t make an impact, then you can find yourself out of the squad very quickly. What I would say is, everybody is in contention.

“I think long and hard about team selection – does anyone deserve to be left out? If so, why? Did a shape work, do I need to change it? I’ve already got my thoughts in place but if I was playing in a team that hadn’t been beat and was doing okay, I’d be wanting to knock the door and ask why I’ve been left out?

“At this moment in time, the people who are in there have got the shirt until they lose it or I deem it that they will lose their shirt because they haven’t played well enough or results deem that. At this moment, I think everybody’s contributing. The standard in training has been really high in terms of effort, commitment and quality, and we just keep trying to move in the right direction. We’ve managed to get the heat off us a little bit, but we’re eight points clear of the third bottom, so we’ve clearly still got work to do and there’s eight games left to do that work in.

“The supporters have been brilliant since I came in. We had a decent following at Hitchin, which is one of the longer journeys in the league and Berkhamsted is another ground down that way. It’s another trek and another one where it’s a cost to get down. Any support we receive is appreciated, home and away, but obviously the away support is because of the cost it entails.

“For those that go, I’m sure they’ll get behind us, and we’ll be trying to win the game. I’m never going to set up to try not to lose – I’m always going to set up to try and win the game and that’s what I did on Saturday – I’ll be doing just the same this weekend.

“I think anybody can beat anybody in this league and it’s one of those divisions – sometimes you go away from home to a team who are struggling and you find it really hard and other times, some teams are at the top, you go and you do really well.

“St Ives were on an absolutely flying run when they came to us and, to be fair, I don’t think we conceded a shot on target hardly. All I would say is that I’ve been pleased and impressed with the attitude, commitment, standards and quality of the lads in the last few sessions and games.

“I think we’re moving in the right direction, without trying to tempt fate, and hopefully we’ll go down there and put on a good performance for the football club.”

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