Manager Ian Evatt’s thoughts on our win over Solihull.
The Bluebirds boss was delighted as his side went five league games unbeaten, with five clean sheets to match with a 1-0 win at Damson Park.
Our resolute back line was the base for another impressive away performance, and Evatt was keen to point out that it’s very much a team effort.
“To keep five clean sheets in a row is outstanding and we’ve stood up to everything they’ve thrown at us today, at what is a difficult place to come. They haven’t conceded a goal at home for five games, they put you under pressure with long balls into bad areas where it is difficult to defend, they get free kicks and set pieces but we’ve stood up to every single thing and more than matched it – from there our football took over and I thought we deserved to win and I’m really proud of my players.
Joel has been outstanding but Andy Firth is a very good young keeper as well, we’ve got some fantastic young players. But defending and clean sheets doesn’t just start with the goalkeeper and back line now, it starts with the whole team right from the front and work out socks off to a man and earn clean sheets. To get five on the bounce is something to be very proud of.”
To come away with three points wasn’t the only pleasing thing for the boss, who was delighted with the way his side battled against a big, physical side:
“To come away today and win like we have is exceptional. We’ve still got a lot of hard work to do and there are some big games coming up, but it’s a good start.
The most pleasing thing for me is that early on in the season we were labelled a soft touch, we were told we are a nice pretty football team but we were soft – well we’re not soft anymore.”
Whilst the Bluebirds moved to within 8 points of the National League play-offs, Evatt wasn’t getting carried away and believes his side just need to stick together and carry on doing what they’re doing:
“I’ve set myself a target and I’ve set the players a target but for now we can’t get too high with the highs and too low with the lows. We have to keep ourselves concentrated, keep doing what we’re doing on the training pitch and keep working hard in games.
There is no such thing as luck in this game, we make our own luck by working really hard and by all pushing each other to be better. Even the players who aren’t involved are the first to be in the changing rooms afterwards celebrating and that’s what we want, a team environment that we can be proud of – we win together and we lose together.”
A strong Bluebirds following traveled to back the lads at Damson Park and the gaffer was quick to thank them for their support, with a call to arms for our massive clash with AFC Fylde on Boxing Day:
“I’ve got to mention the supporters again, who have traveled all this way so close to Christmas and they were outstanding and backed us – it’s a huge help so thanks to them.
Let’s get Holker Street packed on Boxing Day and let’s really support these lads and back them and get three points. When that place is rocking its a really tough place to go. As I’ve said, these lads are a group to be proud of, they fight for the shirt, they fight for the badge and for the town. Let’s have a bumper crowd on Boxing Day and kick on together.”
After some debate about the changes he made for last Saturday’s FA Trophy fixture with FC Halifax Town, Evatt was keen to underline his trust in all of his squad, feeling some players are unlucky not to be involved with how well his team are playing:
“I understand that supporters get frustrated when I make so many changes for cup competitions, especially the FA Trophy, but there is method in my madness – we have such a tight schedule and we are picking up injuries and illness all the time.
Every player in my squad I trust to play. I have to pick an eleven and a sixteen each Saturday, but there are people who are unlucky every week, that I think deserve to be playing football. I wouldn’t have anyone in my squad if I didn’t have complete faith and trust in them.
We should have won the game last week, we were unlucky with hitting the woodwork so many times and with the weather etc.”
Striker Olly Dyson, who joined the Bluebirds midweek, made his debut in the Midlands and the manager is pleased with what he has seen from the Huddersfield loanee:
“He’s very good, he’s a young boy but as you can see he can handle himself and he has played men’s football before. He was on loan at Shaw Lane and Huddersfield’s academy play against men’s teams. He is technically very good and can run in behind like Tyler (Smith) did.”
We are next in action on Boxing Day when AFC Fylde visit the Furness Building Society Stadium. Get your tickets online HERE.