What did you make of the performance?
I thought we were good and we created lots of chances, but again the clinical side of it maybe not so much. We started the game well, went ahead and a bit of an Achilles heel at the minute, letting another team in. We had most of the play, but they had chances and we had chances. Second half we started well, scored twice and then really stepped on,sort of suffocated them after that point and didn’t look in danger after that.
If you had to have chosen a player to score goals would it have been Alfie May?
I don’t care who scores the goals. He’ll be pleased with that and obviously he’s played slightly out of position in the last two games. We know what Alfie is. He wasn’t quite right at the start of pre-season, for whatever reason. He looked a lot more like himself today, infectious and getting in and around like a bit of a wasp. He took his two goals well.
What did you make of Ellis Chapman on his full debut?
I thought he was excellent. He came in and he showed you what we want. He has to work on his other side of the game. There is no doubt he can play, he gives he balance, he can run and land on things, he takes the ball in tight areas. His weight of pass is excellent. He’ll need to learn, first half their two chances came from Conor (Thomas) and Ellis losing tackles. They need to be more combative with things like that. One of our goals, might be the third, actually comes from Conor winning a tackle in the middle of the pitch and we break from that. So that’s something he will need to learn, but he’s 19 years old. He looks older than he is, but as full debuts go, that’s as good as you’ll get.
Does he offer something you don’t currently have in the team?
He is left footed in the middle of the pitch and he balances us out nicely. He is one that we identified, we think he has resale value in terms of his age, we think we can go on, but first and foremost he has to get into our team and deliver that week in, week out.
You mentioned the Achilles heel of conceding fairly quickly after you’ve scored. Have you said anything to the players after the game about that?
No, we’ve had a meeting about it on Thursday about it, so that obviously worked….To score first in 10 out of 11 games, to have lost four is not good enough and the players know that. That’s why I was pleased with the second goal because we really stepped on then, rather than saying ‘that’s enough’ so it’s something we are working on, we are trying to figure it out and we’re not stupid. We recognise there is something there so we need to find out whether it’s a mentality, or a shape, or we just change our shape for five minutes afterwards, or what, but we will get to the bottom of it.
You have another game on Tuesday night and George Lloyd is available. Do you expect to have anyone else back?
No, we won’t.
First appearance for Lewis Freestone for a while, how do you think he did?
I thought he did all right, Lewis. He came off with cramp. He’ll be playing again on Tuesday so that’s why we took him off because we want to get as many minutes into them as we can. We know what Lewis is and he doesn’t have to come in and try to impress anymore. He did that in pre-season. He was unlucky not to start the season and the only reason he didn’t was because he cut his foot in the Newport game. He is like a monster in training the way he is every day, so we knew that when did he come in he’d be ready and I thought he delivered a solid performance.
And Matty Blair back from injury, showing how effective he is at right wing-back after Conor Thomas has filled in there
Conor isn’t a right wing-back and we know that, but he holds an end up, almost. I think he did really well there because he is an intelligent player and he understands the position really well. The one thing he hasn’t got is Blairy’s pace and he doesn’t have a trick to go and take a man on, but his positional play is excellent. Blairy, when you get him in the top end of the pitch, he is a winger by trade so that’s when he comes alive, but he also balance us off that at the end we have gone 4-3-3 and he plays at right-back in a conventional four, which he has played a lot in his career as well. That adds into it. We know Conor isn’t a right wing-back and we still have Tom Sang and Sean Long as well. They are the main people for that position.
Job done today, but how impressed have you been with South Shields, both during your analysis and during today’s game?
They were excellent. The main game we watched and we watched bits and bobs of their league games, but they have 70 or 75 per cent of the ball because they are far too good for their league. We knew they wouldn’t play like that because we were pretty confident they wouldn’t have 75 per cent of the ball, but they beat Halifax and they smashed them, scoring two and having goals disallowed, good chances, so they deserve all the credit, rightly so as well. They are much better than the league and we’ve had league games this season where we’ve not had to play as well as that and won. The football they played and they changed shape and still tried to play football and caused us different problems, so fair play to them.
Were you at Burnley with Jason Gilchrist?
Yes, I know Gilly and Nathan Lowe, the lad who came on. Gilly is what he is and he could have scored the first one, nearly getting a toe on it. He is an out and out goalscorer. He came to prominence at Burnley as one of only two players in the last 35 years to score a hat-trick at Old Trafford, when they beat Man United in the FA Youth Cup a few years ago. He was unfortunate at Burnley. He came away with Scotland pre-season and broke his ankle, which was sort of the end of his Burnley career, but he’s too good for this level I know that and I think he’s already scored seven or eight goals this season, so he’s a good player.
That’s £16,972 in the bank and a second round place. More money up for grabs on Tuesday, with £8,000 if you beat Norwich Under-21s in the EFL Trophy
Yes, every penny counts. We have nothing coming in, so if that’s one of the only ways of getting money in…and the players were aware of that too. We did have that conversation and we wouldn’t normally talk about that side of it, but that’s where the club is at and it was important. With two or three changes, I don’t think people are going to come off it anyway. The start of the game was really good so it is important, there is no point hiding away from that and the club needs every penny it can get.
Josh Griffiths is going away on an England Under-20 training camp. Will he miss any matches?
I am not 100 per cent sure, but he might miss Carlisle away. I don’t know the ins and the outs of it yet and we have today and Tuesday to get out of the way first, so I genuinely don’t know.
But Scott Flinders is fit and ready if required?
He trained on Friday and he comes into it. Max (Harris) has been training every day as well so we’ll pick whoever we think is right for the game.