On the balance of play, was that a fair result?
Yes, I thought we were good value for the win. Josh (Griffiths) has had one thing to do in 95 minutes. We have had unbelievable chances. Again, I talked about it last week when we drew and the week before when we lost, we need to be more clinical. The amount of chances we are creating, that should have been more comfortable in my opinion. But, win the game, keep a clean sheet and score a goal, you’re always going to win.
Can you put your finger on why the chances aren’t going in?
No. I’ve just said to the centre forwards and the midfielders and I might be putting pressure on them, but the back five are having to live on a knife edge all the time because they can’t make a mistake. If that is putting pressure on them, that’s the job. We have won the game, so it’s a positive. We are not blaming anyone. It’s just that if we are going to go on and achieve what we want to achieve, we are not going to create that many chances in every game. We created numerous really good chances. The keeper has made a couple of good saves in the second half, but it’s a team effort. The shape of the team was really good and for all their possession I don’t think they had a shot, other than the free-kick.
Did you watch the penalty?
I sort of watched it, half and half. They are difficult to watch and it was a big moment in the game. Conor (Thomas), to be fair to him, was the coolest man in the ground. He is very confident, he doesn’t go the same way all the time. It’s a definite skill and something he’s very good at.
What’s the situation with Will Boyle?
He’ll be out for the season. He’s caught his knee in a similar sort of place. You saw him in the stand shouting and screaming, so he’ll be a supporter now, same as everyone else. It’s a blow, but it’s not the end of the world. Boylo is a big part of what we do, but we’ve just delivered another clean sheet so I don’t think it’s fair to talk too much about Boylo.
You played in a number of promotions. Is it harder watching from the sidelines?
100 per cent. I said to Wade Elliott before the game, you get a feeling in the dressing room, but I am not in the dressing room. I know what that feeling is, but I am in the staff room. We have given ourselves a chance. We’ve been consistent all season and we just have to keep doing it. Don’t look too far ahead. Once your start thinking about the finish line ahead, you trip up and that’s what you can’t afford. The lads have been good and it was a difficult game today. Orient have been on a good run with the play-offs in sight so they had to come here and give a good account of themselves. I am really pleased with the performance.
Are you able to impart some of what you went through into your team, in terms of advice when chasing promotion?
They don’t need any information from me. They do it themselves. They are in the performance because of the performances they have put in. They don’t need to know if I won six promotions, same with Wade and Russ (Milton). They don’t need to know. It’s been two years in the making so we’ve been working a long time to get this moment, so to take our foot off the gas now…and if we don’t do it because of a bit of bad luck, give yourself the best opportunity. That’s all we are asking for, so it’s irrelevant what I have done in my career.
The league continues to be very tight, why do you think that is this season especially?
Someone said to me the other day they think it’s a really poor league, which I think is really disrespectful. We are in a league where the pitches have been poor because they’ve not been able to renovate them due to ground staff being on furlough, same as everyone else. Money has probably got a bit closer from top to bottom and that makes it more condensed. You are asking players to go Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, which they’ve never had to do and you are asking them to do it in front of no-one. That’s why it is such a tight league. You have to be on it all the time.
Are you planning to involve Will Boyle in the coaching side of things now?
He wants to learn, Boylo. I’ve just had a laugh with him, saying it’s not nice watching and he can tell why I raise my voice now! It’s frustrating, particularly when you are up there and can see it all. He’s a student of the game and he wants the lads to see it through as well. It’s difficult for him, but he comes in and sat with me in the centre forwards meeting last week. He asked if he could come in and sit on it. Those are the people you want to work with. We have a group of them. They don’t think they know it all, they are willing to take on information. Whether they take it or not, they are willing to listen and have an opinion. Sometimes they disagree, which is fine as I don’t know it all either. That’s why I have a staff of different opinions. Boylo is one of a number we really like working with.
Does it need an operation?
No it just needs time, probably about six weeks like the last one. It’s not because he came back too early, he’s landed on it in the last minute, really awkwardly so he’s in his brace and hopefully he’ll be back for the start of next season.
As Will Boyle drops out, Charlie Raglan returns, which was a positive
I said a couple of weeks ago, you look at the bench and the squad is starting to look a lot fitter. Last week Rags was sitting on the bench. Lewis Freestone is now fit again. It’s the way football works. It’s very rare you have a clear treatment table, it’s one in, one out quite often. Hopefully we can stay clear of injuries in the next six games and Boylo will have to put a blue tracksuit on, rather than a red one.
Cheltenham’s best points total in League Two is 78, so you are closing in on that now
Two wins away. I am not looking too far ahead and I genuinely mean it. Win the next one and if we win the next two and we’ve matched it with four games to go, then great. I’d like to think we’d beat it then, but don’t worry too much about what we did in history, the players have a good opportunity to make history themselves and that’s the most important thing, never mind my promotions or the club’s promotions.
How did the attacking players respond to being told to be more clinical and do they have any answers?
This is not a new thing. We have unit meetings all season, defenders, midfielders and centre forwards. It’s just trying to improve constantly, nothing any more serious than that.