Exiles Club President, Wade Elliott write for the Exiles

Last updated : 13 April 2003 By Wade Elliott
How frustrating is the lack of away wins been in recent months?
The most frustrating thing for the players is that we feel we haven’t got the results our performances have deserved. York aside, our away performances have been good. It is frustrating because we know that when we string together a few away results to our home form, we will be in a strong position. We approach each away game in the most professional manner possible, and we give ourselves every chance to do well. The most important thing now is to keep doing it, to keep the same level of performance, without getting discouraged, knowing that if we do that, results will turn for us.

What do you consider to be the minimum we need to get automatic promotion?
We haven’t set a specific points target. The league is so open it would be futile to do that anyway. We just have to try and win each game because that’s the type of team we are, we’re at our best when we attack other teams and take the game to them.

What is the spirit among the first team like at the moment?
The spirit has been good all season, it helps when you are around the top of the league and things are going well, but even when things have gone against us, we have rallied around each other. I think that is something that shows through, even to people looking in. The lads who are injured want to travel to away games and support the rest of us, the lads who are not in the 16 on a match day come to the dressing room to help and encourage those that are. The team spirit is probably the main reason we have managed to overcome so many injuries this season and still be in the position we are.

What is the injury situation at the moment? We appear to be coping with the injuries even though some players are out of position?
The injury situation changes from day to day and as soon as we tempt fate by saying we’re nearly over it, somebody else picks up a knock. It’s just one of those things, and we’ve learnt to deal with it as the season has gone on. The players know we’ve a small squad, and everybody is willing to take on new roles and new positions. We are lucky that we have a lot of all-round players who have the ability to fill in. The positive side is that everybody in the squad has been involved in the first team.

What has been your highlight of recent matches?
Probably the Hartlepool match, they’re top of the league so they’re the best team in it, but we played well and should have won the game. It was nice to show people how good a team we can be. The most pleasing aspect was that, in previous games we’ve played well and not killed teams off, and that has cost us when we’ve conceded late goals. At Hartlepool there was a bit more resolve about us to make sure that we took something from the match. We have to make that a turning point and take it into the remaining matches.

What was your view of the 'postage stamp' shot you had at Rushden? How gutted were you when the keeper saved it?
It’s just one of those things, usually when you scuff your shot a bit, like Macclesfield at home, that’s when they seem to go in. I’m always happy when I’m getting in positions to have shots and chances, it’s more worrying when you come off and you haven’t threatened. Sean always encourages us to have a go and not to get worried about missing, he’d rather we shot again the next time than pass the buck or be tentative with the effort.

Hasn't the away support been great this season? To see almost 900 at Rushden was amazing!!
The support home and away has been tremendous this season. Everybody knows how much we enjoy attacking the North stand, and we always play better when we are kicking that way, the players and the crowd seem to respond to each other, and help push each other along. The players really appreciate the efforts the fans go to when they travel and watch us, the number that we’ve had on long trips to places like York and Darlington took us all aback, especially the amount we took to Rochdale on a Tuesday night recently. The great thing about our away support is that they always seem more vocal than the home teams support.

Are you one of the out of contract players at the end of the season? If you are, are you hoping to resign for the next year or two?
I’m not out of contract but there are plenty that are. I think Sean has spoken to everybody who is and let them know what his plans are. It’s not something that the lads go into with too much detail with each other as it’s quite a personal thing. We’ve got a very strong squad and I think everybody would like to keep the bulk of it together.

Have you been happy with your own performances in recent weeks?
Teams seem to be trying to mark you out of matches just recently. York aside, where everybody was poor, I’ve been happy with the way I’m playing. My problem is that sometimes, when we change tactics, I miss out. It’s just a case of working in training to reprove to the manager that I can play a different role when he wants me to. It’s something I’ve done in the past and It’s another challenge for me. I give teams a problem and if they do double up on me, Sean and Peter have done a lot of work with me about the ways I can make space for other players to use. Peter always tells me not to get frustrated if I’m not always on the ball, but to appreciate the other ways that I’m affecting the game. The best thing is that I’ve really been enjoying my football lately, and everybody plays better when they feel like that.

Your prediction as to where we will finish after the Carlisle match.
We want to be in the top three, we believe we’ve got the players ,the staff, and the set-up to achieve it, we just have to keep on doing our best and see where that takes us.

Many thanks to Wade Elliott for his time – all the best for the rest of the season.