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Steve Watson pleased to be back after break in play

By Dan Simmonite | 5th November 2020

Steve Watson’s men are back in action this weekend after a two-week self-isolation with no football.

But despite the break in play, the Manager is taking the positives out of the situation and is pleased to have regrouped this week ahead of the Chester game.

Watson said: “Covid-wise, the one player that tested positive didn’t really feel any effects and everyone is fit and well and is healthy.

“It was totally unplanned and not ideal, but I suppose you take the positives out of every situation and it did give our long injury list a chance to improve itself.”

The team started back training on Monday, which has allowed the likes of summer signing Jack Redshaw to return to full first team training.

“Jack has been training with us this week, as has Matty Brown and Akil Wright. Going into the Hereford game Robbie Tinkler and Owen Gamble were doubts as well –add to that Duckworth and King who would have been pretty well stretched,” explained Watson.

“As we stand they’ve all had full weeks training with the exception of Duckworth whose hamstring injury was a lot worse than we had hoped and Josh King who picked up a knee injury in the last home game which we had to change the team mid-game and system so that part of it has been frustrating.

“Will they be ready for the game on Saturday? That’s something me and Micky will have to discuss at length probably today and tomorrow.”

With a busy November schedule ahead, the Manager is looking to be smart about his decisions on bringing players back into the team after their injuries, using the strength in depth to his advantage.

He added: “The fact is we have eight games coming up in three and a half weeks, so we have to be sensible about putting people back in. I’d suggest that the majority of the squad will be needed over this very difficult spell.”

The new-look team are unbeaten in the National League after one win and two draws but sit in 10th with a couple of games in hand due to the layoff.

Watson said: “Three League games in definitely doesn’t tell the story – by the end of November we will certainly know where we are at.

“As I have just said to the lads, we haven’t had a bad start. We put in a really good performance against Chorley, we let the game slip against Farsley with a disappointing set piece goal and it was a tough draw against a very good Brackley side.

“But we certainly haven’t seen the best of this group yet and it may be a little bit of a slow burner because we might need two or three more games to know what the best system and the best group of players is for the team. As long as in that spell we are picking up points and winning games then I’m really confident moving forward.”

Watson went on to speak about the game on Saturday at home to Chester, a team who have picked up 9 points from a possible 15 in the division so far.

He said: “I like Chester, they are a good footballing side and I like their two guys in charge, they have a lot of experience and have a great record. Apart from losing the top scorer last season, Asante, they have kept a good squad together there and have won three of their games so far.”

“We know it’s going to be a really tough game and every game we play against Chester is tough, we had a very difficult game there last season which we nicked, and we performed very well at our place against them.

“We are coming at it [this time] from completely different preparation so we will be looking at getting the season going and bouncing again Saturday hopefully.”

Watson continued, speaking about the league table: “It’s obvious we want to get promoted and that’s the reason I am here and the reason we come into work every day.

“It’s very early but teams have had a terrific start, Gloucester and Fylde have had tremendous starts, and we cant afford to let them get away from us – our intention in every game is to win it and we will give it everything we can to do that on Saturday.

“They will be coming thick and fast and we have a decent sized squad with a lot of quality players which will all be needed but the first port of call is to try and turn up on Saturday and get the right team, the right system and the right result.”

You can watch the Chester game via our Livestream on Saturday, priced at £7.99. To purchase your streaming pass please click here.

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