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Squad is champing at the bit after break: Schofield

23 December 2022

Interviews

Squad is champing at the bit after break: Schofield

23 December 2022

The Rovers squad are champing at the bit to get back into action after their extended break according to head coach Danny Schofield.

Last weekend saw the scheduled clash with Harrogate Town postponed on safety grounds following bitterly cold weather, meaning there will have been a 16-day gap between matches by the time Rovers visit Tranmere Rovers on Boxing Day.

Having picked up a win at Newport County last time out, Schofield says his players are desperate to build on the impressive performance.

Schofield on the lack of recent matches:

“It’s been a bit strange because English football is always intense with game after game after game. But we’ve tried to take the advantages out of it, albeit after three or four days without grass being available due to the weather.

“We’ve tried to get a lot of intense training sessions into the players and a lot of repetition of messages of how we want to play with and without the ball. We’ve just tried to maximise the time on the training pitch with the players.

“There’s pros and cons to it. There’s only so much work that you can put in on the training pitch to get your message across and it’s about constantly repeating those messages. You want to see that work materialise in games so I’d rather us play games than train.”

On the switch to a busy period:

“The Christmas period is always intense. I feel the lads are well-prepared for it, particularly on the back of the Newport performance and the win. We’re looking forward to the fixture period.”

On training around Christmas:

“The lads will be in on Christmas Day. They asked if they could bring it forward so I’ve moved it forward by 15 minutes for them!

“I think I went 22 years without having Christmas Day off so I’m going to be passing it onto the players. It’s a time you have to sacrifice a little bit compared to normal professions and industries. The players and myself are very privileged to work in this industry and we understand that. So we’ll prepare as though it’s normal matchday preparation.”

On the test of Tranmere Rovers:

“As a player there seems to be one of those teams you’re always coming up against and Tranmere was the one for me. They were always in the league I was competing in.

“I know the stadium very well, I know some of the people really well. It’s going to be a difficult game like always.

“We’ve prepared for this type of opponent really well in terms of what their strengths are and their weaknesses. We’re in a good place at the minute. I think after the Newport performance and result, the lads are eager and champing at the bit to play a game.

“We’ll go there full of confidence, we always go to compete and win and we’ll see what happens at the end of the game.”

On the importance of the three games in six days:

“I think it’s always a pivotal moment, this half way period. I think after the three games there are 22 games left.

“If we can put some good performances in and pick up some results and move up the league, that’ll put us in a good place.”

On his impressions of the squad two months into the job:

“It’s a fantastic group of players who want to work hard for the football club and for themselves. They’ve got ambitions to grow, develop and play at the highest level possible.

To work with that kind of mindset and mentality is really good for me as a coach because they almost drive themselves. We just facilitate the process and try to help as much as we can.

“I can’t single anyone out. Collectively it’s a really good group.”

On Joseph Olowu:

“Unfortunately he took a whack to his face where the initial injury was. He’s not actually refractured that area but the plates that are in there have shifted and it caused a bleed. He went for the scan and to see the surgeon and it’s put him back to square one.

“He’s going to be six weeks before he’s back on the pitch, ready to make contact again.

“I’m really disappointed for Joe. He was devastated because he’s a player who is very engaged, wants to learn and wants to get on the pitch. It’s tough for him and a loss for us.

“We’ve given him a few days over the Christmas period to be with his family because he can’t do much else but then he’ll be back in the new year to get back to work.”

On Bobby Faulkner:

“It’s been quite serious for Bobby. Playing for Worksop the other night, the tackle was quite innocuous and there was nothing malicious in it. Bobby went in for a slide tackle but as he did, the other player fell on him at speed so the knee caught him in his face.

“He’s actually fractured his jaw and lost a few teeth. He underwent surgery on Wednesday.

“He’s going to be on the sidelines for a while which is very unfortunate for him. But he’s a strong lad and he’ll overcome this.”

On squad health:

“Luke Molyneux will be available. He’s come through a week’s training well and pretty much unscathed. It’s just getting him back up to match fitness in training but he’s pretty much good to go.

“Ollie Younger has stepped up his recovery. He’s spent a few days at St George’s Park, getting some quality treatment and a good rehab programme down there.

“Aidan Barlow is back on the pitch in training, so it’s pretty positive on that front.”

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