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Port v Cei Connah / Connah's Quay - 11/03/98

There is no hiding place when you are manager and the team is not perforrning well. Past successes count for nothing, a list of excuses will not appease your critics, everybody can see the faults in the teams play as they occur. As manager you become desperate for some consistency, a player who does well one week is bloody awful the next. What do you do about it? Firstly you don't panic, you analyse the situation, stick to your principles, define your targets and work harder at your task, curse Lady Luck and the hand you have been dealt.

Last week at TNS, our first half performance was poor and in the final analysis it cost us the points, amazingly everybody else in the drop zone slipped up and we didn't slither further down the table. At the moment we are averaging one point per game, it is generally accepted that a point a game average for the season is the survival target. With ten League of Wales matches to play we need four wins or twelve points. That must be our target if we are to salvage something from what can only be described as a very disappointing season on the pitch, and let's face it that is the only place that counts to the supporters and everybody at the club. If there are to be any recriminations they can only come at the end of the season. At the moment everybody and I mean everybody at the club must focus on the ten remaining matches, as l have said many times in this column we must survive in the League of Wales. Today's visitors Connah's Quay, will be no pushovers, they are enjoying an excellent season and are pushing hard for a European place. A few weeks ago we put in a fighting display at the Quay and gained a point in a match which was the last game to be played at the Halfway Ground. At the moment Nev Powell and his men are sharing with Rhyl while the finishing touches are being put to their new stadium.

Today's match is the start of the last ten matches of our LoW season which is in fact 25% of our fixtures. I will be pointing this out to the players and setting targets for the team and individuals to achieve to enable us to achieve our goal of forty points. Though our supporters are obviously disappointed with our results this season I must implore you to keep behind the team in their efforts. One of the biggest things in football is confidence, supporters can play a big part by encouraging players and keeping behind the team. Nobody has a divine right to steer clear of relegation. Trouble a quick look around the leagues sees giants like Everton and Tottenham keeping company with Barnsley at the foot of the Premiership. In the 1st Division just look at Man City, in the LoW Caemarfon and T.N.S., one playing in Europe last season and the other only missed out playing in Europe this season on goal difference both are now fighting a relegation battle. It doesn't make sense, but that's football, a funny old game, one minute it lifts you up and the next drops you down. Thanks for your continued support, enjoy the match.


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