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Powell: "I’m still pushing the players."

5 October 2018

After three excellent wins in a row, Chris Powell wants to show his side mean business by extending that to four this weekend.

Oxford United visit Roots Hall on the back of four straight defeats, whereas Blues have won their last three.

But Powell knows his side can’t take their foot off the gas.

“I’m really proud of the players at the minute but I’m still pushing them,” said Powell. “I don’t want them to think they’ve cracked it.

“The second we relax, we’ll have a problem. And they’ll have a problem with me.

“For my mind we were a bit too relaxed on Tuesday but credit to Burton, they were decent so we had to do something about it. We upped the tempo, were more aggressive and it showed that no matter what they threw at us we were ready for it.

“Now, for me, getting a result and a win at home in front of our fans would really crown and top off a really good week because we’ve had two away trips.

“We need to do it in front of the fans at home, I think it would be fabulous if we could do that and we’ll be digging deep to do that.”

Dru Yearwood made his first start of the season on Tuesday, a sign that Powell is gradually getting players back to full fitness.

Harry Lennon is another one that is back out running, but he’s still a week away from playing a competitive game.

And Powell made reference to the squad, because he knows that everyone will play their part at some point.

“Whether you’re playing or not, we’re a unit.”

“What I have shown is I have faith in young players. I think our bench on Tuesday had six academy boys, if you include Michael Kightly, and I’m not afraid of doing that.

“You want your strongest team, you want to make sure you have enough in reserve because Saturday will be the third game in seven days for a number of players.”

What pleased the Blues boss the most on Tuesday was winning a different way; being adaptable.

That has brought into question what formation Powell will go for, for the visit of the U’s.

“We’ve managed to turn the results around favourably and that’s down to everyone,” Powell added. “What I mean by that is the players and the staff have kept together, because we knew we were close and there were other factors but, ultimately, you’re judged from minute one.

“After Shrewsbury the week leading up to Fleetwood was a very important one for myself and my staff in how we portrayed how we felt and what we needed from the players.

“Since then we’ve been magnificent, even in a really testing first half at Burton they responded how any team should and we have to work hard, or even harder to stay there.

“What’s great is we’re showing we’re quite adaptable. We’ve got one way of playing and we’ve shown we can play another way if we have to.

“People will be thinking what are going to play on Saturday but we know we can adapt.”

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