The Barnet squad and management staff set out on the long trip up to the North East this morning, as they prepare for a top of the table clash against Gateshead tomorrow afternoon.
Speaking yesterday ahead of their final training session before their departure, manager Martin Allen admitted that it had been a challenging week following last weekend’s draw against Kidderminster:
“I don’t think any of us can hold our hands up and say that it hasn’t been a difficult couple of days.
“To be 3-0 up and comfortable and cruising, to then draw and nearly lose the game – it must be said that we nearly got a winner at the end as well through Keanu – but it was tough to take. It has been a testing and challenging week.
“But they are a resilient group. They are a strong group. We had little chats with little groups within the team and we had positive communication with the players within their little groups. We covered areas where we thought that we could improve, and the players obviously contributed to that as well.
“In the dressing room after the game, there was no – as people from the old days with perhaps be expecting – shouting or ranting and raving and throwing of tea cups. There wasn’t any of that. We were all disappointed and we were all upset with how it finished.
“But we worked on it constructively on Monday and Tuesday. The players all had their own DVD to watch and we got back together and chatted through it and worked on it on Tuesday.”
With a game against third-placed Gateshead to follow, who are currently unbeaten in nine, Martin believes that this weekend provides the perfect opportunity for the players to put that result behind them and move forward:
“You can’t dwell on what happened last week. You have to learn from it and pick yourselves up. Here we are this morning and the training ground is in great nick. There is a bit of sunshine on the pitch, it has been freshly cut this morning and the groundsman is doing the markings.
“I think looking out there now as we stand here with the fresh cut grass and the fresh line markings going down there – it is a fresh start. We’ll get the players out here for training and get ourselves ready for the trip up to Gateshead.”
Martin also revealed that there would be a few faces missing from the travelling party, one of which is that of Alfie Pavey, after the youngster this weekend returned to Millwall following a youth loan:
“I thought that Alfie has done really well. He is a great lad and he was here on a kind of work experience loan. He has helped us do a job but I think it will be better for him to be going back and playing in a Millwall team week in, week out because I can’t promise him a start in the team.
“He is a really good player and he is going to be a really good player in the future and I am delighted that Millwall let him come here and I’m looking forward to monitoring Alfie’s future.
“We have got several players who are injured and will be missing, but I am keeping those close to my chest. It won’t weaken us, it will just strengthen us because the players that will be coming into the team will be desperate to do well and will be desperate for an opportunity, so I am really looking forward to seeing them play in our team.”
Although Martin admitted that he was expecting a tough test against the Tynesiders, he also insisted that he is relishing the challenge as the Bees look to maintain their position at the top of the table:
“They are a very, very good team. They were in the play-off final last year and have got some very good players and it is an exciting game to be taking part in,
We’re travelling up on Friday morning. We will train on Friday afternoon, have dinner at 7pm and then everybody has to go to bed.
“I know all of the players are looking forward to it, I am certainly looking forward to it and it should a great occasion.”