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Brian Caffarey - 16th September 2007

I spoke to Frank Gray earlier this afternoon to get an update from him before tomorrow evening?s game at Crawley Town.

I asked Frank, first, about the thinking behind his new signings of Kevin James, Joe Gatting and Paul Hakim. ?I felt we needed to add to the squad, especially with the injuries we?d had?, Frank said. He confirmed that the emphasis was on providing more options up front. ?With Liam Marum injured, we?d only got Marvin Morgan and Carl Gibbs as conventional strikers. Bradley Quamina?s injury also meant that we were short in midfield, which is why I brought in Kevin James.? Frank confirmed that Kevin was a free agent and had been training at Kingfield: he?d now been given a month?s contract. With regard to Joe Gatting, Frank said that they had been keeping an eye on him for some time and that they had taken a lot of soundings before bringing him in on loan. Paul Hakim was well known to Colin Lippiatt from their time at St Albans. I asked Frank if he?d been able to keep within his existing budget in making these changes. ?Yes?, he responded. ?The budget is for the whole season: you don?t spend it all at once. I was making some allowance for bringing in players later during the season.?

Frank said that he thought that Kevin James had been outstanding on Saturday: ?he uses the ball well and he?s also a good talker: we haven?t got many players who are very vocal on the pitch?, Frank commented. I said that Joe Gatting seemed to have quite a quiet game. ?I thought that he led the line well?, Frank responded, adding that ?he got into good positions. Apart from Carl Gibbs, we haven?t really got anyone who plays in that role, so Joe gives us other options. It?s always a bit of a change moving from reserve team football to first team games, so I think he?ll need a bit of time to adjust.?

Frank said that he thought that we had done well against Altrincham: ?We started better than we have in some previous games and did enough overall to deserve to win. We kept a good shape and they didn?t really trouble us.? I asked if Frank had seen the game beforehand as quite a critical game, given that Altrincham had been just below us in the table. Frank gently reproved me: ?No. I don?t know why you?re looking at that end of the table: none of us at the Club are doing that. I think there?s too much talk of relegation places and so on. That?s not what I?m thinking about.? Attempting to recover some ground, I said that fans were naturally anxious when a team is finding it hard to score goals, however good the defence may be. ?That?s one of the reasons I?ve brought in more strikers?, Frank retorted. ?But it?s not just the new players themselves that can make the difference: new arrivals can often have a good impact on other players, introducing competition for places and bringing more out of the existing squad.?

I asked, in passing, about James Younghusband, noting that he was the only one of the new arrivals whom we hadn?t seen in action yet. ?James is very much still with us?, said Frank. ?He may get his chance shortly.? Frank said that he viewed James as being able to play anywhere on the right-hand side of the team.

Turning to tomorrow?s game, Frank confirmed that Liam Marum and Matt Gray are still convalescing. He didn?t want to put a date on their return but agreed that it wouldn?t be in the next two games. Matt Pattison has recovered from his illness and will be in the squad tomorrow night. Bradley Quamina is very doubtful. Marvin Morgan is fine, having trained on Sunday and earlier today.

Not surprisingly, given Crawley?s home record of three wins and a draw, Frank thinks that tomorrow?s game will be another tough test but thought that Crawley would see it as a tough encounter too. ?We?ll go into it with every intention of coming away with a result?, he added.

Brian Caffarey
17 September 2007

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