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Darren Moore: Pre-Cheltenham talking points

29 October 2021

The Owls head to Cheltenham on Saturday and here are the talking points from Darren Moore’s pre-match media conference held on Friday.

ON RETURNING PLAYERS

Both Mass and George have been in full training with full contact and they will be getting volume in their legs with the Under-23s game on Monday, which is brilliant. They are important players because they are different to the players we have in midfield now. So, to have those two available and ready in the next couple of weeks will be a real positive for us. It’s important we nurture their recovery and by giving them volume we hope there’s no reactions after that.

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Sam Hutchinson has had a very minor setback, he’s desperate to be back out there on the pitch, so we’ve had to taper him a little bit. He’s had a little strain and since that we’ve tried to get him back but it hasn’t settled as we’d like. It’s nothing serious but it just means we have to take it easy with him. We take it game by game and if he’s not ready I won’t take that risk.

ON CLEARING THE TREATMENT TABLE

I was gutted that Lewis Gibson was injured because that has hampered the balance of the team. I played Marvin on the left of the back three because he offered more of that natural balance. We’re suffering from knocks but over the next couple of weeks we’re confident of having more off the treatment table. Josh is back out in amongst the group and doing lighter work. It’s great to have him back but we’ll monitor him with the sports science team and the physios to make sure he keeps progressing.

When I look at the players we have in the building, the ones who are out are the ones who bring that balance. Some are deputising in positions and doing well in those positions, they are working for the team. We have to be adaptable to what the season throws at you. Would I have wanted Josh Windass and Massimo Luongo fit? Of course. So 3-5-2 is just one of a number of formations that we will play. Will I stick with this formation all season? No. There’s every possibility that the system will change.

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ON CHELTENHAM

I expect a strong, solid performance from them. They have some good patterns of play, they’re a team that achieved promotion last season and are finding their way in League One each week. They’ll be a solid, tight-knit unit with a manager who sees the game in a good way. We will be going there to try and win the game, it’s the way we always set up and that is something that will not change.

ON BARRY BANNAN

I’ve been pleased with Baz and the discipline he’s brought to his own game has been phenomenal and as a leader he’s been exceptional, just as he has as a player. Baz has had to be disciplined with his position on the pitch and he’s one that you might look at and say he’s not playing in his favoured position but we’ve had to find the balance as best we can with the players we have available.

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ON TURNING DRAWS INTO WINS

We need to be more ruthless when taking our chances. But also defensively as well, being more dogged and upping our concentration. We need to turn these draws into wins. It’s been frustrating as we should have got over the line in a couple of these recent draws but we haven’t.

ON SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY

I have brought a sports psychologist in, I felt it was the right thing to do for this season. The record about coming back to win after going behind that goes back a long way, it comes with mentality. I thought it was right to bring someone in to work with the players in the hope of making us better as it’s the small margins that will make a difference in this league. It’s great that the players have bought into it and enjoy working with him.

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