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McKenna: A Hungry Group, a Good Set of Boys
Thursday, 6th Jan 2022 17:46

Boss Kieran McKenna says he’s happy with the group of players he has inherited having got to know them over a Christmas period during which time the Blues had only the one fixture.

The 1-0 home win against Wycombe should have been sandwiched by the trip to Gillingham - which has been rescheduled for Saturday - and the home match against Lincoln City but those games succumbed to positive Covid cases at the Priestfield Stadium and Sincil Bank.

McKenna has used the additional time to get to know his squad better having done some groundwork prior to his appointment.

“It’s gone well,” he said. “Before you come into the job you prepare as well as you can in terms of watching games and getting a really good idea of what’s been going on in the group, getting to know everyone’s individual background, where they’ve been, what clubs they’ve been at and how they’ve arrived at this part of their career.

“I feel like we had a good idea by the time we came in and then in the first couple of weeks we’ve only had one game, so we’ve had lots of time to have group chats, small chats, informal chats, lots of people in and out of my office, and I feel like we’re getting a good feel for them all.

“I’m happy with what I’ve found, to be honest. I’ve found a hungry group, a good set of boys, they all want to improve, want to train hard and they want to do well for the club.

“They know that they’re in a really privileged position to be at this club and it’s not gone how they would have wanted so far but they’re all hungry for success and ambitious, and they want to do well for themselves and they to do well for the club.

“It’s been good getting to know them and it’s positive in terms of the impressions so far.”

Has it been frustrating only having had one game so far? “Yes, there’s a little element of that. Obviously there are different elements to the job, but the judgement comes on matchdays, that’s the nature of the beast.

“It doesn’t matter how well we work or we think we’ve worked Monday to Friday, if it doesn’t show on the pitch on Saturday, then that’s what we get judged on.

“I do feel like I’ve been able to get my teeth right into things. It was a little bit disappointing not to have had another game or two. A lot of that is because I’d like to see the players play, to be honest.

“We have good players here and the players have trained so well that you want to be able to give them opportunities on matchdays and be able to give other opportunities to players who maybe didn’t play against Wycombe. It’s not been easy, the players are itching for a game.

“But in terms of my work, I feel like I’ve had a really good couple of weeks to get my teeth into it here, I think there’s a lot of work to be done behind the scenes that we want to put in place that we feel is going to improve the club going forward.

“This couple of weeks has given us a really good opportunity to do that. We think that we’ve got a few things in place in terms of the environment and the training, and the day-to-day running here at the training ground has been really good and that will stand us well going forward.

“We’ve really got our teeth into certain bits of the job. It’s been long hours, we’ve been able to really focus on things that we wouldn’t have been able to put so much time towards if we had a match every three days, so that’s been beneficial.

“We’ve used the time well, we feel, and now we’re looking forward to hopefully having a run of games and seeing some work on the pitch.”

McKenna says he’s not talked with the players about a points target for the remaining games, although knows what it usually takes to be in the end-of-season shake-up.

“I’m aware of it. I know what points total will usually get you where in the league and I know where we’re at and what we’re going to have to do,” he said.

“But it’s not something that I’m speaking to the players about and it’s not something that is consuming too much of our focus.

“The position we’re in, it’s impossible to look at more than one game at a time. We just need to find a way to get consistency in the performances, consistency in how we work day to day and if we do that it’s possible that we can get a run of results.

“And if we can do that and manage to get a couple of wins back to back, then all of a sudden, the picture will look different.

“But it’s not something we’ve spoken to the players about, we’re not obsessing over points-per-game or points totals or previous years.

“At the moment, it’s about nothing else other than Gillingham, it’s about doing everything we can to get a result there and after that it will be about the next game and the next game and the one after that. So, I’m aware of where we are at, but it’s not our primary focus at the moment.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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Bazza8564 added 18:01 - Jan 6
Sensible well grounded lad, refreshing to read this

Karlosfandangal added 19:01 - Jan 6
So far like what the new boss has to say, Have we finally found a manager that can make a difference

istanblue added 19:04 - Jan 6
Sounds like a school teacher

markchips added 19:37 - Jan 6
If ihe sounds like a schoolteacher and he acts like a schoolteacher, guess what he probably is ‘the schoolteacher’.

jas0999 added 19:56 - Jan 6
I really like this guy. Honest. Says it how it is. Good luck to him

Ipswichbusiness added 19:58 - Jan 6
We need to average two points a game to secure sixth place.

Possible, but very difficult.

Linkboy13 added 19:58 - Jan 6
Be happy with another solid one nil victory with the defence restricting Gillingham to zero chances that's the basis of building a good side get it right at the back first.

Crinkle59 added 21:39 - Jan 6
A good schoolteacer can make men out of boys so hope he can do the job. We must back him all the way>.

shakytown added 00:05 - Jan 7
Why are they only now hungry and not with Cook???? and how long will it last with the new boss????

dirtydingusmagee added 09:00 - Jan 7
people say he sounds like a school teacher ! yep NEW SCHOOL, we have to move on from OLD SCHOOL, the players need to be able to relate with the boss in present day /game , not go back to dino days .I dont expect KM to set the world alight in his first season as a manager but i do think he will become a good manager with his background. We dont want somebody drifting into their twilight years living off fading memories of past successes.

Unhinged_dynamo added 09:02 - Jan 7
Iv never understood this thing in football to refer to grown men as boys? Ole did it alot and i find it strange, to be called a boy at 18 or over is odd, apart from that I like all I hear from KM so far!

ldnj added 11:03 - Jan 7
He comes across as level headed and professional, which is a positive. I hope he succeeds as to me it seems a lot more encouraging than the previous change..

Marinersnose added 12:10 - Jan 7
KM appears to be focused on developing this group of players which is so refreshing. Something which hasn’t happened at the club for many years. It’s is clear that he has been looking to develop systems and patterns of play and the players have bought into it. I still remain puzzled as to why these players some of whom joined the club to play for Cook haven’t shown hunger and desire until Cooks departure. The performance levels increased almost overnight and I’m excited about the future. Maybe it was the inexperienced coaches utilised by Cook , I don’t know. Three points tomorrow would really make a big statement. COYB

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