Sol was keen to emphasise that the players must remain composed despite the occasion, as we prepare to face Port Vale this afternoon.
Whilst appreciating the fact that emotions can interfere with derby matches at the best of times, the Manager was keen to keep things calm as we look towards the bigger picture – retaining our Sky Bet League Two status.
“Yeah, I think for me and all the lads, the derbies are always nice to play in, but it is a different kind of situation for us, we have got to keep it running really.
“Keep the results running in our favour so the added spice of the derbies is always good for the fans and everyone concerned, but we have got to keep calm and focus on the job.
“I am just trying to let the lads realise that it is a big game, but also not too much pressure. We are all focussed, and I think that is what you have got to do.
“Play the game, don’t allow the game to play you, that is key really.”
Sol also pointed towards the size of the pitch at Vale Park as something the players must consider when it comes to utilising their energy reserves in the right way.
“We have got a job to do and we have to be calm about it. We have to work hard, you know, it’s a big pitch so it is important that we realise that, and we are not running all over the place and conserving energy.
“Running out at the right time, closing down at the right time, it is all about good decisions all over the pitch, and we have got to be focussed on that.”
Despite this, Sol was keen not to take the edge off the occasion; and insists the players can use the derby atmosphere to their advantage tomorrow.
“These are the kind of games I used to love! It’s a big pitch, hopefully it will be a good pitch as well.
“There is a lot riding on it, and I love all that, and for me, a big pitch is good if you pass the ball around and you keep hold of the ball, then you are going to have some joy.
“Of course, I wish I was playing, I love playing these types of games, but I am on the side line now and I am really enjoying it.”
By the end of play this afternoon, Macc could confirm their place in Sky Bet League Two for next season should results go our way, and Sol was quick to acknowledge this, but insisted that we must not get carried away.
“It is all about realising that yes, there is a bigger picture and we have got to get a result, and we have got to realise that.
“But at the same time, we don’t want people to overrun or overthink it too much and just kind of concentrate on the game, on individual jobs as a team.
“We need everyone to be switched on individually and as a team so that you don’t get carried away. You have to stay calm, work hard, hustle, play some good football and last of all, take our chances.”
The Manager was also keen to stress that although Vale have nothing to play for as far as league safety is concerned, their players and staff will still not hold back and give us an easy time this afternoon.
“They’re playing for contracts, we’re playing for contracts, everyone is playing for contracts, so we are all in the same boat!
“We have got to show what we are about, approach the game in the correct way, and don’t let the situation play you, just play the game.
“Work hard, see it out and make the right decisions, and don’t worry about all this other stuff, it’s all about this game.
“That is what I want all the players to focus on and really focus on getting the right result and doing everything in our power to make sure we get the right result.”
Although Sol is encouraging the players so stay grounded and focussed, he also pointed out that the atmosphere that our travelling fans create will be crucial when it comes to encouraging the team to get the right result.
“I hope it makes it into a really vibrant atmosphere. I think the lads will respond to that. That is what it is all about really when it comes to derbies, to get up for it, but to control it and not let it boil up and think too much and go beyond to the point you are not playing football.
“That is the key really, to find the balance between really working hard, and being up for it, and making the right decisions, or losing your structure, and it is all about those three points and us getting the right result.
“So, we have to make sure we are in the right frame of mind, and not to get carried away by the occasion.
“We can let the fans get carried away with it, but for the players, we have to make sure that we are on it and ready to go.”