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Confidence already returning to Athletic ranks

Date published: 31 December 2018


Athletic’s in-form striker Chris O’Grady hopes Saturday’s terrific 4-1 win at Port Vale can act as a small springboard towards better fortunes in 2019.

The team bounced back brilliantly at Vale Park, just a couple of days after manager Frankie Bunn was sacked following the 6-0 Boxing Day mauling at Carlisle United.

Under caretaker boss Pete Wild for the first time, Athletic roared to victory in the Potteries thanks to strikes from Callum Lang, Mohamed Maouche, Gevaro Nepomuceno and O’Grady.

“It was about testing ourselves as professionals and adults that you can't moan about it - we had to get on with it which we did,” said hit-man O’Grady.

“We wanted to end the year well and, overall we have done, so we'll be looking to carry it forward.

“We can be pleased with how it's gone so far, and we look forward to the New Year and what we can achieve.”

Wild took charge on Saturday with the squad having less than 24 hours to get to grips with his ideas.

Wild slightly altered the style of play at Vale Park, with O’Grady having to put in a lot of hard graft up front on his own.

“It was tough and tiring,” O’Grady reflected.

“We just have to adapt to it.

“Pete outlined his tactics on Friday and it was for us to implement them as soon as possible, which we did.

“We just try to do what he was asking of us and be professional about it which we did, so hopefully he'll be pleased.”

Athletic take on Notts County tomorrow (New Year’s Day) looking to make it back-to-back League Two wins and close the gap on the play-off positions.

“We'll be more confident and looking to build on what we did on Saturday and just looking for the same result really,” said O’Grady.

Former Burnley and Blackburn boss Owen Coyle is now the bookies’ favourite to take over permanently following Bunn’s sacking.

He is a 2/1 shot with Bet Victor, while others in the bookies’ frame include John Askey, Gary Bowyer, Darren Ferguson, Paul Hurst, Darrell Clarke and shock French name Jacques Santini, ex-manager of the France national team and Tottenham, among others.


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