Skuse Confident of Avoiding Repeat of Relegation With Robins
Thursday, 8th Nov 2018 17:46
Midfielder Cole Skuse has recalled how he was relegated from the Championship six years ago with former club Bristol City but is adamant that Town are far better equipped to avoid the same fate this season.
Skuse said: “That was a terrible experience and we touch on it all the time. We’re not hiding away from the fact that we’re bottom of the league and relegation isn’t something you want to go through in your career. It was a horrible, horrible feeling when it happened to me.
“We’re lucky in the sense that there are still plenty of games to play and we feel as if we have a very, very good squad.
“We’ve also got a very good manager and staff, who give us the guidance that we need, and who knows, come January there might be some new additions to help us. That’s a managerial decision, of course, but we’re more than confident we are going to get out of the situation we are in.”
City finished bottom in the 2012/13 campaign after Town had occupied that position when Mick McCarthy replaced Paul Jewell in November 2012, impressively launching a rescue mission that saw them finish in 14th place with 60 points – 19 more than the Robins had been able to accumulate.
Skuse added: “I hope this isn’t speaking out of turn but I don’t see parallels between the two. Bristol City was my team for a long, long time but there is a better squad here at the moment, in terms of the manager, staff and what we have behind us in terms of help on and off the field, than we had down there six years ago. It’s a much better place here.
“Don’t get me wrong, it is tough to play in these sorts of circumstances. Every game is a big game, no matter where you are in the league, but when you’re bottom of the league every point is a huge point.
“You’ve got to be bold and brave, mentally tough as a character, to stand up and fight. Not just that, but to also get on the ball and play.
“I believe we have a mentally strong group. No one is hiding away from the situation we find ourselves in and everyone is doing their utmost to get out of it.
“We all make mistakes – that’s human nature – and we are all capable of giving the ball away in games. But if you make an error like that, don’t dwell on it. It’s gone and you need to move on.”
Town are at Reading on Saturday and Skuse continued: “It’s a very big game at Reading because they’re not too far away from us in the table.
“They’re at home and there is talk of their manager being under a bit of pressure, so they need to get away from where they are.
“But as much as we’ve had a look at them, we’re really focusing on ourselves and getting the little patterns that we can work on to affect them. But there’s no doubt it’s a big game.”
Meanwhile, 32-year-old Skuse is already looking to the future and the possibility of teaming up again with skipper Luke Chambers as a management duo. “I’m doing my coaching badges, with the emphasis on coaching,” he explained.
“I have no aspirations to go down the managerial route – that would send me even greyer I think. It looks like a tough gig and as I’ve said in the past I’m waiting on Chambo to get an appointment, wherever that might be, and he has said he might bring me along with him.
“You should never say never but I haven’t got a burning desire to go into management. I think Chambo is cut from that certain cloth where he can manage that, whereas I can just put a few sessions on then go back in the coaches’ room.”
Skuse provided an insight into his captain, colleague and pal, adding: “If I ring him and say that me and my wife are free on a Saturday night and, if he and his wife are also free, does he fancy going out for a bite to eat he’ll say ‘Yes, no problem, I’ll sort that out’.
“Basically, he wants to sort out everything to the last detail. He’ll take it upon himself to book the table and decide the time – he’ll even decide who’s driving there and back.
“That’s him as a person. If I say to him ‘What about going on holiday in the summer, the two families’ he’ll say ‘I’ll sort it’. He’ll arrange everything, the transportation from the airport to the hotel, even getting the backs upstairs to our rooms.
“That’s just him as a person so you can imagine what he’s like in a football environment. We’re bottom of the league and you get some of the lads who are down and keep themselves to themselves.
“He’s trying to lift the morale of the players and taken it upon himself to do something about it, even if it’s just changing the yogurts we have in the canteen.
“Every week, on the Thursday or Friday, he gets given the complimentary tickets for the players’ family and friends. He asks how many each of us wants and he distributes them. He’s always looking to organise things.
“He has some of the youth team lads living in an annexe at his house and he has to supply an evening meal for them. He says he has almost adopted them as family because they sit at the dinner table as if they were his own kids. Again, that’s typical of him.
“He’s one of those guys, constantly on the go, and I’ve often said to him that he needs to relax himself and let other people take care of things.
“But he’s the type who wants to mend things and it’s credit to him as a person. It’s a good trait to have but it could get to the point where he just needs to concentrate on being the very good defender and captain that he is.”
Skuse also told how things had changed since Paul Hurst left the club a fortnight ago to be replaced by Paul Lambert. “It has been different to how it was with the previous manager.
"In terms of the training things have definitely changed but you expect that with a different manager who has a different way of doing things. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
“We’ll have our team meeting and that’s a proper get-together, on something like how he wants a training session to go.
“But when that’s finished he’ll integrate with the players and ask questions about what if this or that happens and how they will react. Today, for example, it was one of the staff’s birthday and he was mentioning maybe bringing in some eggs and flour to bake a cake. It didn’t materialise but it should have.”
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