John Ward On Another Home Win

Last updated : 06 January 2008 By Thetashkentterror

John Ward
United boss John Ward spoke to BBC Radio Cumbria's Derek Lacey this evening as he talked about the second see-saw home win for the Blues in five days, Ward suggesting that it's now time to take stock on the first half of the season and then look ahead to the final 23 games :

" The situation with Paul Thirlwell is that he is injured, he has got a calf strain, his calf has let him down again today and he could be out for some time. So that was the reason for the substitution, there is no need to question him, his captaincy or his quality. He is injured and unfortunately he is not going to be with us for a little bit longer so that has finished that one. There won't be any other injuries apart from Paul today I don't think.

" I've got no doubt about the credentials of this team now, I've been here long enough to get to know the boys and get to know them as a team. We just put that to them at half-time, it wasn't a question of bawling people out or throwing things around. We said that we didn't really deserve to be two down but we are and it's what we do about it.

" We've decided that we'd switch Jeff (Smith) and Simon Hackney back across and obviously that was comfortable for Simon and he found his couple of goals so that was nice. Young Joycey (Luke Joyce) came in because of the injury to Paul and performed very well in that second period. I have to say that my two strikers I thought were absolutely tireless today and chased everything and worked for everything and didn't get a goal between them. I'll always judge my front players on what they do when they don't score and today Joe (Garner) and Danny Graham I thought were excellent.

" We are letting goals go a little bit too easily, you can say that in the last few weeks we have let more in than we did in the first 18 or 19 games of the season. So that side of it has gone a little bit but that said after the two away games over Christmas we've picked up the goalscoring aspect. You can look as deep as you want but the bottom line is about the level of character. "

" We talked about this the other day, whatever words you want to use, moral fibre, strength, mental strength, everything, but just their determination today to try to put it right. Because it was put to them that we don't deserve this but we are in this position so what are we going to do? We've got two choices, we either feel sorry for ourselves and drift away or we fight. Every time I have put that to them they have come out fighting, they haven't always won the second periods but we have come out fighting.

" I have to say thanks to the crowd today because they stayed with us very, very strongly and very positively. I've always felt that wherever I have been, that if the crowd and the team are together then you can actually achieve things. Today they did support the team even when we were down and I'm grateful to them, thank you very much for that.

" I don't particularly criticise the officials, I'll have a word down on the bench but you'll get some for you and some against you as the season moves on. It's a human trait, human nature, they do their best, they don't make mistakes on purpose and you get on with them. I'm fine with officials, it's not a job that I'd want to do.

" He (Simon Hackney) is fine, he has won a header as well today so that's how good he has played, not only has he found two goals. The kid is in good form and he is enjoying his football, as you can see his left foot is pretty good whether he's whipping things in or he's getting his shots in. He is obviously comfortable on that side but we had a little look at it after Tuesday to put him on the right and we felt that it was not the end of that. There are things he can do there but he obviously looks comfortable on his favoured side and today he came through which is great.

" We're winning games, we're in a terrific position, we are halfway through the season and second in the table. It's time just to reflect and say that has been brilliant, a great effort, have a little breather, take a deep breath and say that we have got to come back in next Saturday and hit the last 23 games. To see if we can emulate what we have just done in the first 23, it will not be easy as you have seen today but we're in a terrific position and I'm delighted with the team. "

" We are going to take it a little bit easier next week, the squad is thinning out a little bit at the moment as you can see and we just need to protect people. We have a reserve game here on Wednesday against Wrexham at 2pm so we'll have a little look at that but we just need to take a deep breath and look at the thing. Then really from Thursday and Friday onwards get going into the Doncaster game but until then I think we need just to look after this group a wee bit.

" Before I came up here I have just seen that Swansea have drawn in the cup, Walsall have drawn in the cup, Tranmere have drawn in the cup. They've got extra games now and I'm OK with that, the more games they have to play in other competitions suits us as well. It's about us though and what we do, while you can get a little bit of help or hindrance from other teams it's very much what your team has done.

" At the moment, halfway through, our team has put themselves into second place amongst some very, very big clubs and some very good competitors. So we've got to be happy with that, I did say to you that if we are in this top six after Christmas and New Year then I would be absolutely delighted. Whilst we have had two horrible away games we've come back fighting and we're second in the table, we've got to recognise that and say well done to the team.

" The crowd stayed with us today really strongly and it was important. We provide some excitement, we keep people on the edge of their seats. It's not the ideal way to be second in the league with a 3-2 and a 4-2 at home but it's pretty good entertainment and we are in that business. They have got a team I think worth supporting here and hopefully we can enjoy a few more good games together.

" It's difficult for a manager to watch because you are thinking different things all the time. I have to detach myself from the emotion of it although I get carried away now and again. Just thinking about things, what you are going to do, what might you do, what have I got sat behind me who can change this, who can help us or do we need to leave it alone. I've got a rebound board in Greg (Abbott) and the guys on the bench, it's good for me that I can throw things at them and they throw things in my ear. So it's nice now, I'll enjoy this really well tomorrow morning when I pick up the Sunday papers and my cup of tea and I'll just sit and think that it is pretty good. So not now but tomorrow I'll enjoy this game. "