Following Tuesday’s battling display in defeat to Rochdale – a stand of defiance to all those who’d questioned whether the Notts players even cared anymore, i figured i’d take some questions to club captain John Thompson.
Thompson feels the squad are again feeling confident and have what it takes to pull themselves clear of the lower reaches of League One.
First thing i’d wanted to know was his reaction to it appearing as if there’d been a weight lifted from the player’s shoulders for the Rochdale game: “Yeah i think so. The performance definitely was improved on previous games but the result was we got beat and we’re all disappointed. As the gaffer said we can’t keep looking back on what’s happened this season and we need to look forward and take the positives out of that game – but its tough when you’re in the position we are”
Asked whether Carl Heggs’ input had been as positive as perceived from the outside, Thommo was full of compliments “The gaffer is a very positive person to have in the dressing room. After the game we were disappointed we got beat – but being 2-0 down though we showed a lot of bottle to get back into the game and another night we could’ve got back into the game.
“The confidence has to be there, you can’t be high on confidence after the season we’ve had so you can’t force it, but you look at Carl and the players we have in the dressing room and we don’t feel we should be in this position”.
It’s a point i don’t think anyone should question. There some fantastic players in the squad, certainly players who are capable of more in League One than they have shown this season.
Obviously this led to the relegation battle that County have found themselves in, and Thompson is under no illusions whatsoever of where things have gone wrong in recent weeks.
“We went on a bad run of not scoring goals and its led to the fact we’re in this relegation battle, but it’s not just down to the centre forwards its down to everyone to create and i think against Rochdale that we had more chances than the previous five or six games before that.
“It’s a time now for the characters in that dressing room and players who have had experienced careers to show that. It has to start Saturday. We have players who can put the ball in the back of the net but it hasn’t happened lately. As a team we all need to chip in with goals from every area and we need to be a bit more creative giving the strikers more service than they’ve had recently.”
As for Saturday’s game with Dagenham & Redbridge – a team sitting one place below Notts: “If we can go to Dagenham and win that game it puts us in a comfortable position and we’ve a very good chance of doing that with the squad of players we have”
Thompson was keen to finish with a message for the often-suffering Notts supporters this season, acknowledging that they have at times been let down: “The supporters have been great and we can understand sometimes this season when they’ve had a go at the players or the staff and they had every right to do so – at certain times it wasn’t good enough.
“But against Rochdale from the first minute to the 90th when the lads started quite brightly even though they were 2-0 down at one stage – the fans were excellent. You can’t explain how much it helps when fans are really getting behind you”
Saturday is an enormous game in our season, you can’t understate that fact. Management know it, the players know it, and the board certainly knows it having offered free travel this weekend. Thompson hopes the fans will travel down in force: “It’s a really good idea the club offering free travel because we’re gonna need them down there because it’s a tight, tough ground and if the fans can really get behind us like on Tuesday we’re very likely to go down there and get a win.“
If Thommo’s enthusiasm for the weekend is anything to go by, the squad is confident. There’s no question that the players are carrying less baggage now and they’re looking forward to pulling the club away from the relegation zone.