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First Team News

Head Coach Stephen Bradley gave this update on the squad in advance of Thursday’s UEFA Europa League tie against AIK:

“I thought we played well for large parts of the game [against AIK]. We maybe could have hurt them more in the final third but we have to remember that we’re playing against a team that are top of the Swedish Premier Division. They’re a very good side. So when you take all that into consideration I thought it was a very good performance.

The fans appreciate that first of all we played well and had a go at them and second of all they understand who we’re playing against and the level of opposition. If you go and play an open game against them for 90 minutes you’ll get punished. They appreciate that it was a good quality performance.

Joel Coustrain was excellent. He has been excellent for a number of weeks now. He’s really settled into life at the club and he understands what it’s about now. I think he’s starting to show people exactly what he can do on the pitch.

Dylan Watts and Aaron Greene [making their club debuts] both hit really good strikes, Dylan’s was a volley and he caught it really well. With Aaron as well, another yard or two to the side and I think it causes serious problems. Unfortunately it was straight down the middle at the keeper.

At the time of the goal I thought we were well in the game although they were having their best spell. It was a good goal from their point of view but it was a poor goal from our point of view because we switched off and we got punished.

There was nothing Gavin could do, it was a really well taken goal but throughout the game I thought he was excellent and made a couple of good saves.

We trained at 6 o’clock on Wednesday but didn’t do much. We got a feel for the pitch and got a good stretch. It wasn’t anything crazy. It’s a fantastic stadium. The hotel we’re staying in is attached to the stadium so we can see it from our rooms, the size of it [50,000 capacity] which is good for the players so they’re not overrawed by it.

As a player you’re looking forward to it. This is where you want to play, in games like this and stadiums like this. I don’t think it’ll be an issue for the players.

We have to be very careful how we approach it. We have to score but we needed to score either way. So nothing has changed from our point of view. But we have to be careful because we’re playing against a top quality team that can hurt you and we need to respect that. We need to make sure that we’re concentrated for 90 minutes. We have to score in the 90 minutes but we don’t have to go mad either.

I believe we are [capable of causing an upset]. We showed in the first leg when we move the ball with the right tempo we can cause them problems and I believe we’ll get opportunities to do that tomorrow night.

It was two good European away games last year [in Iceland and Czech Republic]. Two different games and I think tomorrow will be totally different as well. It’s different opposition, a different country and style of play but we can draw on the experiences of what we did and didn’t do well last year. We need to learn from them.

Brandon Miele is still struggling so we’re probably looking at another ten days for him. Sean Boyd is still injured but everyone else is OK”.