Head Coach Mark Kennedy spoke of the importance of togetherness as we prepare to face Plymouth Argyle this afternoon.
With this afternoon’s match being one of the longest away trips of the season, Mark was keen to stress that we had prepared for the game as best we could.
“It’s a long old journey but we will prepare properly, train in the ground and leave from there,” he said.
“We have obviously got a long old journey so we will start a little bit earlier and try to get down there as quickly as we can; try and give the lads as much rest as possible and get them ready for Saturday.
“Every other club in the league has got to do it and likewise for Plymouth as well when they have to travel up north.
“It is just about us being professional and doing our jobs properly, doing what we come in to do every day, what we understand is ahead of us, but the lads are an absolute pleasure to work with so we have got absolutely nothing to worry about there whatsoever.”
Mark shed some light on the logistical challenges involved with away matches at clubs such as Plymouth, and admitted this game was always going to involve an overnight stay due to these challenges.
“What a lot of people won’t understand or think about is that when you play in the Premier League and the Championship, and I am sure a lot of League One clubs, playing away from home - you have overnight stays.
“A lot of Premier League clubs will stay and have an overnight stay on a home game, I know quite a few do.
“But in League Two finances are obviously different, budgets are tighter, etcetera – so we don’t travel away for every game.
“With the distances involved it is clearly one of the games that we pick out at the start of the season which will be an overnighter, but it’s not a problem – the players have done it many times before so it’s nothing anyone is not used to.”
When discussing the attitudes and application of the players in recent times, Mark was quick to praise the lads for their conduct and the way in which they represent the Football Club.
“I think they have been a huge credit to themselves, first and foremost, I think they have been a huge credit to the fans and the club.
“We have been in everyday, we have trained really well, we have put a huge amount of emphasis on our training geared towards the game and I can’t thank the lads enough and I can’t compliment them enough on their attitude and their application – they are just a joy to work with.
“We see that every game they play. Although we have not had the wins that our performances have warranted, we have not played one game this year where we have not walked away from and thought ‘we should have at least got a draw from that’.
“You see that in the desire and the application of the players week-in, week-out.”
Mark also extended his thanks to the fans, praising the level of commitment and dedication on show every week.
“I have got to say a huge thank you to the fans, because what the fans do for us week-in, week-out, the players see that, and they are the people they want to give back to and that has been evident in how we have trained and applied ourselves this week.
“We go to Newport away on a Tuesday night, which is a long old trip, and we don’t have 5,000 there but we have had a group of people who have turned up and supported us.
“They have brought kids with them and they are getting home at silly o’clock and then have work the next day and the kids have got school, etc.
“That doesn’t go unnoticed. We see it at home games, we see that the club have had three managers this year, but the support from the fans have been unwavering.
“We haven’t heard any bickering or moaning, all we have heard is unconditional love and support.”
He was also keen to emphasise the effect this has on the players, and how they are all committed to repaying this admirable loyalty by giving everything to secure a result this afternoon.
“The players recognise that. I know that there is a coach going down to Plymouth a day before the game, like us, and having an overnight stay to support the lads. That is a lot of money to a fan and we recognise that and understand that and have discussed that.
“I want the fans to understand that we know how difficult it is, we know the cost and the expenses.
“One thing I love about the club is that it is a real close-knit community, we all recognise and are aware of how we work together as a community.”
Plymouth have demonstrated their quality on many an occasion this season, and Mark was full of praise for Ryan Lowe’s side – although he insists we are well prepared for the challenge at hand.
“Plymouth have been one of the standout teams we have played, they have had a game midweek, so we have had more of a rest, although obviously they have not travelled.
“They are a team that are flying high in the league, I was super impressed with them here, so we know what we are up against – we know their strengths and weaknesses, so we are ready.”