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Clemence looking forward to home league debut
Clemence looking forward to home league debut

Stephen Clemence is preparing for his first League Two game in front of the Priestfield faithful as Salford City come to Kent this weekend as the new era at the Club really begins… 

After last weekend’s reverse at Wrexham in his first League game in charge, Clemence has been looking ahead to his first walk onto the Priestfield pitch in front of a packed Rainham End crowd.

“I’m really looking forward to my first home game in front of the fans,” he admitted.

“I have heard so many people say to me what a difficult place Priestfield is to play for away opponents. I just want to make sure that we carry that on, and I know on the pitch we have to give them a team that they are proud of and one that is working and is flat out and giving everything for them which I am sure we can.”

“But for me, I cannot wait to get in front of the home supporters and getting them behind us and them being our “twelfth man” this weekend.” 

“Supporters want to go home on a Saturday night knowing their team has won – that is the most important thing!”

“Obviously, there is a way of playing which I definitely want to bring to the Football Club, but as I have said it is a process and it does not happen overnight, but if we can win and play an attractive style of football, then perfect!”

“But if we have to win and it’s ugly, and you have to stand up and be counted and defend for long periods, then we must be prepared to do that too.”

“We are not going to dominate every opponent we come up against – this is a very tough League to play in and the lads have to be prepared to win in different ways!” 

Clemence was talking to us on the back of his first full week of uninterrupted training with there being no midweek game this week.

“We’re trying to get our ideas into them,” the Head Coach continued. “It has been really good to have a full week on the training ground with the boys, as training up to now has either been recovery or saving the legs in preparation for the next game.”

“So, we have been able to get a lot more work into them than we have done previously, and I think that will stand us in good stead for the weekend’s game and going forward as well!” 

“There has been real enthusiasm on the training ground as I think what we are doing with them, they are really enjoying.”

“There’s been a good intensity from them – when we are doing our tactical work they are listening and trying to take it all on board; they are asking questions and seem to have a good understanding of it.”

“That is followed up by video work and so we are trying to get as much into them as possible whilst being aware that you cannot overload people – you have to build slowly and make steps every week.” 

“We need to get results and I’ve said it before that I’m all about winning football matches and there is different ways to win and different ways to score goals and collectively we’ve all got to get better at that, whether from set-plays, crosses into the box, individual brilliance, whatever it is, there is lots of ways to score.”

“We want to have more of the ball, but we want to win football matches and we will try to do whatever it takes to do that.” 

The head coach updated the squad’s injury status with the news that Robbie McKenzie and Ashley Nadesan are close to a return to the first team squad – he would not be drawn if this weekend might me too soon for the pair – and there was better news of Oli Hawkins as Clemence said, “He’s back training on the grass and we’re all hoping that he can join in with the group next week, which is great news.”

“We have a couple of others who I will not name and who have not trained this week, so we will leave it as late as possible to assess them with regards to Saturday.”

“It is hard enough picking a team, but it is harder picking a bench when you get players coming back!”