Manager Ian Evatt’s thoughts on our 1-0 win at Eastleigh!
Bluebirds boss Ian Evatt said our win at Eastleigh on Saturday even surpassed our midweek win at Wrexham, after a superb week for his side:
“For me that was better than Tuesday because it would have been easy, after that performance, to come off the gas and have a long trip down here and feel a bit sorry for ourselves that we’re a bit tired and have alot of injuries etc, but that performance was magnificent.”
Evatt was delighted with the way his side executed their game plan as they picked up three points in Hampshire:
“In the first half we picked them off at will at times and got the goal , and then defended really well, Eastleigh are a big physical team and play alot of balls into your channels and over the top with a lot of set pieces. But the way we kept a high line, kept brave and kept them up the pitch was superb. No one can really outrun our back three, especially the two wider ones because they have electric pace, so with the wind and conditions we were brave with our line and it was hard for them to hit those areas with Joel sweeping in behind too, we did that fantastically well.
Our game plan was to try and stop Yeates, he has got 27/28 assists this season so we had to make sure we had full pressure on him, virtually man to man marking with Steve Jennings, keep him on his left foot to stop him getting the ball in to McCallum. Providing we were brave and high with our line, to keep them out of the box then it would be hard for McCallum to win those headers, the way we stopped those crosses and played the game plan was magnificent and I’m just so proud, even more proud than Tuesday night.
We didn’t sink back, we didn’t defend our lead we kept on going, we probably should have finished it off with Jack at the end but it’s a fantastic week of football and I’m thoroughly delighted with the boys.”
It was a special day for Barrovian Nathan Reid who made his first team debut and impressed, despite only training with his teammates for the first time on Friday:
“Do you know what, I’m so proud of him and I’m so proud of Craig and all of the U21’s. The way they have gone about it this season has been fantastic, some of them have waited for their opportunity and Nathan has come on and took his today. He was a handful, he ran his socks off, he has only trained with us for one day but the lads are really proud of him. It means a lot to him and it means a lot to the Under 21’s for one of their boys to have a chance, he’s took it, he’s a Barrow lad and hopefully he is going home very proud tonight.”
Reid replaced Jacob Blyth who was forced off after 11 minutes due to injury, and the gaffer is hoping to have some of his many injured players back soon:
“It looks like a calf strain at the moment, we will have to look at how it settles in the next couple of days and then get him examined properly and see how long he is going to be out for.
Hopefully we will have a few back next week, because we are running out of numbers quickly! It’s getting desperate but it just shows that the lads are thoroughly behind each other. The ones who haven’t been in the team like Nathan, he has a job don’t forget, to travel down with us and put in a shift and performance like that is outstanding.”
The win sees the Bluebirds move to within 9 points of the play off places with 7 games remaining, and Evatt had a simple response when asked if his team can close that gap:
We have two home games to come now and if we win both of them then the picture looks different again. We’re a good team, I’ve said that all season and our record against the top six is very good. Eastleigh have been on a great run and we have come here, more or less dominated the ball, especially first half and made them look average at times – but that is no disrespect to them.
I have firm belief in my players, why can’t we go and win the last seven games. We have to have that aim and that ambition, it’s all about mentality at this football club and we have to believe we can do it. If we don’t, we don’t, but we are going to give it a good go I can tell you that.”