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Atkinson: We must earn the right to play

8 August 2013

Midfielder says Blues must win the battle at Hartlepool and then look to play their passing football

Midfielder Will Atkinson says Blues must win the battle first, and then try and play their football, when they travel to Hartlepool United on Saturday for their first away game of the 2013/14 season.

Atkinson has played the full match in both of Blues’ games so far and has been impressed with the hardworking nature of the whole team.

The former Bradford midfielder is expecting a tough test against Hartlepool, who he says will work harder than ever to pick up their first win of the new season.

He said: “It’s always a tough place to go, Hartlepool. You can be sure that they will work extremely hard and make it difficult for us. If we’re going to win the game, we have to win the battle first and then try and start playing the football we’ve played in the last couple of games.

“I think the performances in both games has been good. If we’d have been stuffed on Tuesday night confidence could’ve been knocked, but we put in a good performance and did well against a Championship side. We were unlucky to get knocked out.

“We’re confident we can make it two wins from two but they haven’t won yet this season so will be hoping to in their first home game of the season. We need to try and disrupt them and frustrate the fans, if we can do that then we have the ability and quality to get the three points.”

Atkinson has been one of five outfield players to play the full 90 minutes in both games. But the midfielder isn’t feeling the effects of 180 minutes of football, and is desperate to play the whole game against Hartlepool on Saturday.

He said: “It was great to play in both games and physically I’m feeling great. We waited so long the season to come around and you can tell it’s back with three games in seven days but we’re all just glad to be back playing again.

“The whole team has got excellent fitness levels and I think that’s helped us already and will help us throughout the season. We all want to be in the starting line-up and there’s good competition for places here, but hopefully I will keep my place for the game on Saturday.”

With it being Atkinson’s first away game since joining Blues, he’s preparing himself his signing initiation already – but he’s hoping the rest of the lads forget!

“I’ve not chosen a song yet but a few of them have mentioned it as it’s my first away game. There’s quite a few lads so maybe they’ll forget about one of two of us,” he added. “I might get a little bit of practice in before Friday.”

A full interview with Will is available on Blues Player.

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