Buckle ready for a battle at Alfreton

Hatters boss Paul Buckle is expecting a physical battle when his side travel to Alfreton Town for their Blue Square Bet Premier clash tomorrow, writes Mike Simmonds.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 7th September 2012, 1:58 pm

The hosts are yet to win on home soil this season, suffering 3-0 defeats to both Southport and Nuneaton, but did pick up their second victory of the campaign by beating Lincoln City 2-1 in midweek.

Buckle said: “They’re an established Conference side now. It’s an unforgiving league, we went there last year and I think it was a 0-0.

“We’ve got to go to Alfreton and be no-nonsense, we’ve got to be prepared to dig in, try and win the game. It’s a very good surface there, so I’m looking forward to a good game as well.

“It’s a tough place to go, they always try and win the game and I don’t see them holding back, I think they’ll go for it.

“We have to be up for it and be physically strong this season. It’s something I’ve tried to add to the squad, the mental and physical side.

“Before you can play good football, you have to be strong again, so we will be on Saturday and look to do our job in a professional way again.

“They’re coming off the back of a win, hopefully we’ll get a good following. I’m sure we’ll get a lot of Luton fans following us up and we’ll be looking for the win.”

Speaking about the Reds’ start to the campaign, Buckle continued: “I’ve not followed the results to be honest, I’ve been trying to look at our performances, our results.

“With a couple of days to go I’ll look at their strengths and their weaknesses which every manager does.

“They’ll be looking at ours, it’s the way it works, but certainly we won’t be going overboard with it.

“We’ll do the same things as we’ve been doing and try to focus closely on what we’re about. We’re in good form and in a good place, I don’t feel we need to change too much.”

Hatters have switched from a 4-3-3, to a 3-4-3 and back to a 4-4-2 in recent games, and Buckle will once again look at which is the best formation to garner the three points.

He said: “I’m reluctant to make too many changes, I want to try to get some continuity, but at the same time, I really trust the players in the sense that they can adapt in different positions.

“I think (Alex) Lawless is a prime example, he’s very versatile for us and it keeps the opposition guessing as well.

“I’m not trying to be clever, I’ve done it to try and freshen things up and it worked. We look at our opponents, we see where we can exploit them and it’s been working very very well.”

Set-pieces are once again expected to feature heavily on Saturday, with three of Town’s last six goals from corners, which is something that delighted Buckle.

He said: “It’s a huge part of the game, something that’s probably deemed a little bit boring.

“The attacking set-plays, we work on them, with (Dean) Beckwith, Janos (Kovacs), (Ronnie) Henry in the team, (Scott) Rendell and (Jon) Shaw, we’re a very big side.

“So if we can get that delivery right, which we have done of late, whether it’s Stuart taking them or , JJ (O’Donnell) or (Jake) Howells. If we can put that in a dangerous area, and the runs are right, it’s very hard to stop.”

Victory could put Town top of the table, and although Buckle isn’t paying too much attention to their position currently.

He added: “It’s not something I’m looking at too much. For me it’s not about the league, it’s about putting in good performances, staying consistent with each other, remaining focused, not being too high one week and then really low the next.

“There are going be up and downs this season and it’s very important to stick together on a regular basis and give ourselves a good chance of winning.

“If you’re winning games you’re going to be somewhere near the top.”

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