It was a hard-earned draw away to Newport County on Saturday – how important is it to get points from matches like that?
“I thought it was gritty, determined and there was good management of a difficult time. In terms of the sheer amount of football played over the Christmas period, it was a good way to come out of it. There are going to be games, especially the way some of the pitches are at the moment, that we have to accept that it’s not going to be as pretty on the football front as we would like it to be so if that’s the way it’s going to be, the elements I mentioned earlier are going to be vital so from that perspective I was pleased and another one comes quickly for us to build on that performance.”
Ruel Sotiriou netted his second goal in as many games and the O’s defended their box well for the majority of the game, you must take confidence from that?
“I am delighted for Ruel, he came on against Colchester and got his goal and he started off the game fantastically well and I’m disappointed that we never built on that as a performance as a team. We did defend extremely well and I think it was one lapse in concentration that meant we never got the points. They threw everything at us and were the better team but at the same time, we showed a real strength to defend our box. We need to now build on that little bit of creative side, how we get up the pitch and start creating more chances for ourselves. We’ve started to put it fairly right at one end of the pitch but we need to get it a bit more positive at the other end.”
Following a run of four defeats in four league games in November, the O’s have followed it up with only one defeat in five matches. Being harder to beat when not necessarily playing well is a good attribute to have?
“I think the important thing for us to do was to build, I think the situations that we’ve found ourselves in this year have made things difficult so to pick up a group of players and just expect us to be good isn’t realistic, we have to build and we have to put those blocks in place to help us get there. Slowly so far we’ve put an emphasis on making ourselves harder to beat because of the league position we find ourselves in, I suppose, so the next part of that is to continue evolving and become more of an attacking force.”
Are there any changes on the injury front?
“Not really many changes. Joe hasn’t really evolved as we’d have liked, the scans he’s had recently have shown that the injury hasn’t got any worse but the unfortunate thing for us is that it hasn’t got much better when we’ve put him through many of the tests that we put him through so that’s a frustrating one. Conor is a lot brighter and trained yesterday so takes him a little bit closer, whether it is close enough we’ll learn that later. Louis Dennis is building on it. It is important for these boys that they are coming into a tough period and we don’t want to jeopardise them as we want them back for the rest of the season.
We’ve had a fairly regular side for the last few games, which we haven’t had a lot this season, so there is one last big push for New Years Day in order to give us a bit of a break to get some breathing space to get some rest and recuperation back into the boys and hopefully have a much stronger squad when the Grimsby game comes around.
“Finally, just wanted to take a moment to wish the O’s fans a Happy New Year. We are so grateful for the support we’ve been given this season hopefully 2020 is a great year for everyone.”