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Interviews

McCann equates good run with strength of squad

15 March 2024

Interviews

McCann equates good run with strength of squad

15 March 2024

Grant McCann believes player availability has been a huge factor in Rovers’ recent positive form.

Since the start of February and for the first sustained period of the season, the number of players sidelined through injury has been minimal.

And McCann believes it is no coincidence that a stronger squad has meant for a better run of form from his side.

“I think the difference in the last eight or nine games is that we’ve managed to have consistency with player availability,” McCann told the media ahead of the trip to Swindon Town.

“We worked in pre-season on our style and our shape but when you miss your four full backs in the second or third game and you’re having to change shape, it’s not ideal. I know we’ve worked with a back three before at Hull and Peterborough but it’s almost like we were ripping all our plans up two or three games into the season.

“Hence the slow start we had. The injuries didn’t help us. The inconsistency of selection due to injuries coincided with inconsistency from us as a team because we didn’t know who would be fit from one week to the next.

“At times we had 15 or 16 players missing. I don’t think sometimes that people understand how difficult it is. You don’t realise how important it is to have people fit and available.

“We have a squad but it’s not nice seeing 15 or 16 people in the treatment room all the time.”

McCann will be without Joe Ironside and Matthew Craig for the trip to the County Ground after the pair picked up injuries in the win over Crewe Alexandra.

Jamie Sterry and James Maxwell were also withdrawn during the game but could play some part against Swindon.

McCann has credited head of medical David Rennie for the impact he has made on the physical strength of the squad since his arrival in December.

“In the last seven or eight weeks we’ve seen the benefits of the shift in mentality with a desire to get these players fit, back out on the training ground and keeping them fit.

“David Rennie, our new physio, has been a key driver of that -  making sure the players are robust, ready to go and not in the treatment room for too long.

“The four players we’ve spoken about for this weekend - Maxwell, Sterry, Ironside and Craig - in the early part of the season we’d be looking at them and thinking we’ll probably not see them for four to six weeks. But now we know if they don’t make it on Saturday, we’ll miss them for one game.

“The difference for us has been being able to keep players fit and available for selection, which in turn has helped our results.”

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