No room for sentiment
COLCHESTER United manager John Ward has every sympathy with Plymouth counterpart Peter Reid but says there will be no room for sentiment today.
The cash-strapped Pilgrims, despite selling off star players such as Bradley Wright-Phillips and Craig Noone in January, were deducted 10 points on Monday after signalling their intent to go into administration.
It sent them plummeting to the bottom of League One with their misery compounded less than 24 hours later by a 4-0 thrashing at table-toppers Brighton.
Having now lost six games in succession (and nine of the last 10), the Pilgrims – whose six season stay in the Championship was only brought to an end last summer – are staring down the barrel of back-to-back relegations.
“It’s awful because the players, managers and staff are not responsible for the situation that the club is in and yet they suffer as much as the supporters,” said Ward.
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“Peter Reid for instance, they could sack him without any compensation, yet he finds himself in a very difficult position where he has been left with very little choice over the running of the football club.
“I did work for five weeks at Stockport County before I came here (coaching there under Gary Ablett) when they were in administration. We could only have 20 players, one lad had got a broken leg and Gary had to actually drive his car to the Football league headquarters and plead that we could bring in another player.
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“I know what a tough situation (administration) can be and you only have to look at what’s happened to Stockport in the 18 months since then to see that.”
Ward, whose side haven’t won away from home since the end of October, continued: “I think at their last home game they had a few demonstrations from supporters about what has been going at the club, but it is important that we divorce ourselves from any proceedings regarding the opposition and get on with our football.
“There may be distractions around the place but we’ve got to make sure that they’re not our distractions.
“If we’ve got a team that are facing one or two problems then we’ve got to take advantage of that and sympathise afterwards.
“Whatever is going on I’ll be working very hard for my team to replicate the last two performances that we’ve put together and give ourselves a chance to win the match.
“Unfortunately you just have to say to Plymouth you’ve got to deal with the other bits yourself.”
Pilgrims boss Reid, whose side are eight points adrift at the foot of the table following six successive defeats, said: “We are in a difficult situation, but if we win football matches you never know what’s going to happen.
“It’s not a case of ‘the season starts here, we know we are going down’. It’s ‘the season starts here, let’s win football matches and have a real fight at this.’ It’s not a negative attitude. It’s a positive one.
“We need to win football matches, and let’s start against Colchester on Saturday.
“It’s a home game and it’s a very important one. We have got to put behind us all the problems we have had.
“We are on a terrible, terrible run and we need to address that. Why not start against Colchester?”
Ward added: “They’re not down yet and one thing Peter Reid will never be accused of is not fighting for his cause and his corner. He will stand his ground and make sure his team is ready to represent his club in the best way possible.
“Obviously he knows the best way for them to quieten things down in other areas would be to get a win on Saturday.
“I know Peter will be looking at it the same as I am – it’s a game of football and nothing else matters during that period of the afternoon.
“We’re very positive in what we’re trying to do though and we’ll go down to Plymouth with the same attitude as we’ve had in recent games.
“We’ll try to get on the front foot again and take the game to them at every opportunity. We certainly go with confidence following the last performances.”
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