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Steve Watson looking for response at Leamington

By Dan Simmonite | 9th November 2021

Steve Watson is looking for his team to bounce back after exiting the Emirates FA Cup this weekend at the hands of Buxton as his team travel to Leamington in the National League North.

Speaking ahead of the game, he said: “Saturday night you are scratching your head for most of the night, but you wake up on Sunday and as a Manager you have to look forward again because we have to think how we get three points [at Leamington] and how we are injury wise.

“We’ve had them watched so have first-hand experience of how they play and we’ve put a plan together to win. That’s not brushing Saturday’s result or performance aside – it’s just something I have to do.”

The management team will be without midfielder Olly Dyson who has starred in an injury-stricken team this season, with Watson revealing the 21-year-old will be on the sidelines for ‘three to four weeks’ after limping off on Saturday.

“Apart from the ones who weren’t available already, we’ve now got Olly Dyson out from a kick [on Saturday] which I don’t even think we got a free kick for. It was a lot worse than we thought and fair play to Olly for trying to play on as long as he could.

“He thought it was just a dead leg, but it seems to be a lot worse than that – he actually spent a bit of time in hospital.

“As we stand today there was 12 senior outfield players fit. One of our plus points is that we’ve got very good players but the difficult thing at the moment is we are asking some of them to do jobs which aren’t natural to them and it’s difficult to keep the same side week in week out.”

Leamington play their home games at the New Windmill Ground which is notorious for being open and exposed to the elements, especially on a cold Tuesday night.

Speaking on the opponents, Watson added: “They are almost a model of consistency and are in a good place again this year. I have met the manager a few times and he is a good guy – they will be confident.

“There are a lot of times, especially Tuesday night games where you come up against the elements, but I thought it was a similar night against Boston and I still think we played well.

“We’ve looked dangerous from set plays but certainly have a lot more to our game than that. If the conditions allow, obviously we will be trying to play and get the ball down and try and exploit their weaknesses.

“That is the plan, but plans can go out the window if the pitch is bobbly or the wind is blowing, or we have to chase a goal. We have an idea of what to do and how to do it and we hope to pull that off.”

A win would see City climb to at least fifth in the table and as high as fourth if Spennymoor lose to Brackley in the other game in the division.

“There is an expectancy to be challenging. But when you take a step back and look at what has been going on, certainly injury wise, we are still in the top ten and within striking distance – we can go into the top five,” said Watson.

“We’ve just hung in during games where you are without five or six starters. If you take those amount of players out of any sides in this league, especially the top players and most experienced players I don’t think they would have the points they’ve got.

“I don’t think it’s been consistent and at times it’s not been pretty and at times it’s been frustrating but what I think what we’ve done so far is we’ve dug in hard – that day will come where we have a full squad to pick from and hopefully it will be over the busy Christmas spell where our lads will be fit and fresh and ready to go again.

“It’s not the way we foreseen it in the summer and not after Newcastle, Boro, Sunderland and Notts County but it’s just the way it’s worked out and that’s where we are.

“We’ve been resilient at times, sloppy at times, we’ve made innocent errors from players who have been asked to do things that are foreign to them but we have managed to stay in and around where we need to be.

“We are still there or there abouts and the lads deserve a bit of credit for that.”

Kick-off tonight is 7:45pm at the New Windmill Ground in Leamington. Full coverage will be available via the club’s official Twitter account.

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