Martin Badger Baker talked to striker Adam Stansfield on September 9th 2003; two days after he scored in the 2-0 win over Swansea City.
Photo © 2019
MB: It was an excellent win over Swansea. Was that really the thing that everyone in the squad had been after?
AS: Yes, obviously after the good start we had, those three defeats came as a massive shock. We were desperate to get another win in, as otherwise the gap between us and the teams at the top, especially Swansea, was going to get too big. It was vitally important that we got that win, just to stop being too far away at the top of the league. Now were only three points behind them.
MB: You switched formations for that game. Was that something that Gary went in immediately on Monday morning and said thats what you were going to be doing, or was it something that gradually got decided during the week?
AS: No, it was Monday morning. Wed been shipping too many goals in too many games and we just felt that we needed to get a bit more solid at the back, so that we didnt keep on going 1-0 down. So all we had double training sessions and it was all based on getting the 4-4-2 formation right so that everyone knew what they were doing before the game.
MB: What was the atmosphere like coming in on that Monday morning. Was there a feeling of shellshock?
AS: No, not really. Its always positive there, even though wed just lost three games on the trot. Everyones attitude is very good and there was always that feeling that we could get over it. Everyone still feels that we can go on an unbeaten run and push for promotion.
MB: You got in through Kevin Gall being on international duty and youve given Gary something to think about now.
AS: Yes, Kevin has been doing brilliantly and this was my chance to get in and show what I could do in the team. Hopefully Ive done enough so that I can keep my place for the next few games. But if not, then Ill just have to keep doing what Im doing and keep battling and pushing for a place.
MB: How often have you scored with a header? I couldnt remember one!
AS: There was one in the home game against Doncaster in the FA Trophy that gave us the equaliser that took us up there for the replay where we won 5-4.
MB: But you dont score too many with your head?
AS: No, at Yeovil that was my second one.
MB: It was a real old target man header as well.
AS: Yes, Johno stuck one in at the back post, and it was a great ball. I managed to peel off at the back so I was unmarked, got in there and got a decent header on it.
MB: Did you set up Kirk for the second goal? In the end the ball bobbled about a bit before it reached him.
AS: Yes, it was a good move and there were about six or seven good passes and I had a couple in there. The ball went up to Kirk and he set it down to me and I tried to play it first time. It went a bit high, but he managed to out-muscle the other defender, get the ball down, beat another defender and then poked it away.
MB: I guess the good thing for the squad is that its told you that you are still good enough to beat sides that are top of the table.
AS: Yes, as I said earlier the main thing was to catch them up. For me personally, to have come out of it knowing that Id contributed to the game was very nice.
MB: How are you feeling in general. Are you feeling any pain or niggles with your leg?
AS: No, my leg is fine. I havent felt a thing really since the Weymouth testimonial game at the end of last season. Its been fine during the whole of pre-season and Ive not really felt a thing. So its all full steam ahead.
MB: Youve come back in and it is that bit tougher for places in the side now.
AS: Competition for places is good and the more that we can have in the more positions the better it is for us. We are going to have injuries and we need people who are good and reliable that can do the job.
MB: Is it a little bit different this season in that we know very little about the opposition? Against Doncaster we will know a lot about the players and their personalities, but against York that will be different.
AS: The gaffer will know everything we need to know from the scouts about the York players and he will bring us all in to work on that. So it doesnt really make any difference that we dont know anything about them at present, because through all the hard work that the scouts do, well end up knowing quite a lot when the game comes. Well know who were marking, who is good in the air, what their strengths are, whether they are right-footed or left-footed so that we are prepared for what the other team has got.
MB: Its been a funny league so far in that weve beaten Swansea, Leyton Orient beat us and yet they are at opposite ends of the table. Theres no one side thats putting their foot on the floor is there?
AS: No, I think that if we win our next game we can go up to third in the league, which is crazy. Its so tight. If you look at last season, again it was very tight and in the end there were ten or twelve teams that were all in contention for relegation. Yet with just a couple of wins, those teams could go from being near relegation to being in contention for a play-off place.
MB: Is it a revelation playing in front of big crowds? Were used to going to places like Doncaster and getting 4,000 crowds there, but were now doing that every week, home and away, and the crowds of Leigh RMI and Farnborough are all gone. Macclesfield will probably be the smallest gate well play in front of all season.
AS: My personal opinion, and Im sure the rest of the players would feel much the same, is that the bigger the crowd is the better. At the Trophy Final, the amount of people that were there gave you such adrenalin, and you come out just wanting to play in front of more and more people. You want to go as far as you can so that you can play in front of more and more people.
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