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Kings of Anglia Issue 8 Magazine Offer

McGrath knows Essex face different kind of pressure

PUBLISHED: 10:49 26 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:05 26 March 2018

Anthony McGrath. Picture: NICK WOOD/UNSHAKEN PHOTOGRAPHY

Anthony McGrath. Picture: NICK WOOD/UNSHAKEN PHOTOGRAPHY

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Four months into his role as Essex head coach and Anthony McGrath is straining at the leash. He has yet to oversee a ball bowled in anger and the confines of his office on the balcony of the Chelmsford pavilion feel like a prison cell.

So the present pre-season tour to Barbados – culminating in the four-day County Champion match against MCC, which starts today – is like the days before release.

“Barbados is very important because we’re into match-play,” he said.

“It’s three weeks till the season starts, so it becomes that little bit more real.

“The problem we have in this country is that the off-season is so long. People can get good at being indoors and it becomes a safety net.

McGrath was promoted when Chris Silverwood moved on to England duties. The handover has been almost seamless and there will be no discernible change in philosophy; the two men worked together for the last two seasons in which Essex finished top of Division Two and then top of Division One.

“We set out genuinely to win every competition, not to prioritise at all,” he said..

“Ten wins out of 14 last year [in the Championship… unless you’re aggressive and play with that intent you can’t win that amount of games.

“So with the ball we bowl really attacking lengths, and with the bat we look to score. When you play that way you’re going to fall on your face sometimes; as yet we haven’t, but I’m sure we will, without a doubt. There is a different kind of pressure this season; I guess it’s an expectation from the outside for us to repeat last year. But from within the dressing room it’s very similar.”

McGrath, 42, knows the two sides to the season after the season before: in 2001 he was a member of the champion Yorkshire team who were relegated the following year; conversely, three years ago, he was coaching at Yorkshire when they won back-to-back titles. He is equally aware of what happened to Middlesex in 2017: from champions to Division Two in 12 months.

“To win this league you do many good things. What we’ve got to do is focus on what we did well and then, obviously, improve on what we didn’t do well,” he added.

Stuart Watson and Andy Warren are back with the latest episode of the Kings of Anglia Podcast.

Jordan Spence has hailed the impact of manager Paul Lambert and believes the Blues can pull themselves away from trouble if they maintain the high standards they have set.

In our daily feature, we take a look at what happened on this day in Ipswich Town’s history. Today features wins over Arsenal and Stoke, while we also remember the late Marton Fulop.

Flynn Downes has been called into the England U20 for their game with Germany in Colchester next week.

Karl Fuller reflects on the Reading draw, plus the generosity of Ipswich Town fans

Ipswich Town remain five points adrift at the foot of the Championship table following yesterday’s 2-2 draw at Reading.

Ipswich Town remain five points adrift at the foot of the Championship table following Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Reading. STUART WATSON gives his thoughts.

Northstander Terry Hunt knows things on the pitch appear better. And asks what on earth has happened to that lot up the A140?

Andy Warren hands out his player ratings following Ipswich Town’s 2-2 draw at Reading.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert hailed his side’s first half display in this afternoon’s 2-2 draw at Reading and insists the wins will come to lift the Blues out of the Championship relegation zone.

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