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Saunders Shrewd Ahead of Town Test

4 October 2012

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Dean Saunders seemed in a determined mood ahead of the clash with Shrewsbury Town on Saturday and insisted that ‘sometimes defeat can help you learn more’.

Following a sobering 3-1 defeat at the hands of Preston North End on Tuesday night, the manager has come out fighting.

“We’ve lost two goals to corners and we won’t be the first team that Preston do that to. The second goal was bordering on unstoppable when Scott Laird ran at the near post like that. I’m still ironing out the problems that we’ve got,” he said.

“Most goals are scored from set plays in this league and you have to somehow combat it. Sometimes the more you talk about it the harder it gets. If the delivery is right then it’s hard to stop. I’ve looked back at the DVD and we weren’t as bad as I thought we were.”

While Rovers have fired on all cylinders away from home, performances seemingly haven’t quite clicked from the manager’s point of view.

“There’s part of the team not working how I’d like. We’re not right in the middle of midfield at the moment and I need to find out who is best playing with whom. There are four of them at the club and I’ve got to find the right combination where they complement each other and the rest of the team.

“We’re a couple of players short altogether and I have to make sure I get the right player in the right position. I looked at our bench on Tuesday and didn’t think we could improve. We could do with an extra player in every department who brings different characteristics to what we’ve got,” he said.

James Harper and Iain Hume look likely to return to the squad to face the Shrews for the first time in fifteen years, though there are doubts over Jamie McCombe (hip) and Martin Woods (concussion), while Rob Jones is suspended following the accumulation of five yellow cards.

“Shrewsbury are doing ok, their strong point is probably their manager Graham Turner who has coached at the highest level before. He will have chosen the players he’s got wisely and they’re going to be organised but I’m not too concerned because if we don’t give away the goals from corners then we win – they’re basics and you have to do them right whatever league you’re in.

“You want to win at home so it puts more on the gate and more people come; if we win on Saturday then we’re right up there and we’ve got a game in hand.

“I can see teams getting nervous against us, Stevenage scored and shut up shop and sometimes it can take a while to grind them down. We’ve lost a bit of quality in the summer when on the ball, it’s hard to create chances,” Saunders said.

He praised fellow countryman David Cotterill on his start to life in this part of south Yorkshire: “I think Cotterill’s end product is what I’ve been after and that’s what I look at. I’m not impressed with tricks and flicks and looking the part. I’m interested in whether he’s going to score double figures and make double figures – that’s his job description. He’s trying to rebuild his career and along with Rob Jones they’ve stood out so far.”

With his ability to view the bigger picture, Welshman Saunders relaxed before the task ahead, “Eventually the class comes through but there’s three points from the top to seventh etc. It’s all about where we are at the end of the season. Consolidation was the main thing when putting this new side together, let’s get to 50 points quickly and kick on. I’m surprised how well we’ve done; we’ve lost a game and need to start again.”


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