Yeovil Town manager Chris Hargreaves has called for patience from the club’s supporters as they go in search of their second win of the season against fifth-placed Solihull Moors this weekend.
The Glovers’ 1-1 draw at Dorking Wanderers on Tuesday night was their seventh stalemate in the opening 12 matches of the National League season and saw them slide in to the relegation places.
Speaking to BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins on Thursday, the boss said the team “can’t hide” from the reality of their predicament, but again pointed to the inexperience in his squad following injuries to defenders Jamie Reckord and Ben Richards-Everton.
He said: “I get it, we are not where we want to be, no-one knows that more than me because my life revolves around it 24/7 with no let up. That’s how I want it because it means a lot of me.
“We stopped the coach on the corner outside Dorking’s ground where there was a pub and I said ‘these fans have paid good money and they want to see you do well.’ The players were aware of it.
“Fans have every right to say things after a game if things haven’t gone well because they give us support when we have done well – so you can’t have it both ways.”
He added: “We focus on the fact we have been competitive in every game and if you get a run together and a couple of wins it looks very different.
“If we had been battered in every game and not have massive periods of possession or being on top in games I would be worried, but what I have seen isn’t that.
“We can’t hide from where we are but we have to have patience with the players because it’s not easy for them, certainly for some players who are fresh in to this league or haven’t been in it long.”
Hargreaves was asked by the BBC reporter about whether angry chants directed at club chairman Scott Priestnall by a section of supporters at Dorking was impacting the squad.
The owner and the club’s only executive director was sat alongside Martyn Starnes, a former Glovers’ Chief Executive who is helping the club “on a voluntary basis“, at Meadowbank in midweek.
Following a prolonged period of chanting of “We want Priestnall out“, a group of supporters moved closer to the main stand where the owner was located and continued to chant “Where’s the money gone?” in reference to the £2.8m the club received from the sale of its Huish Park home and surrounding land to South Somerset District Council in May.
Asked about the hostility towards the owner, Hargreaves said: “I can’t affect all the things around me, all I can affect is the team.
“The team do play for the fans, it’s just we have suffered at times from a lack of experience where we have let leads go too easily. I can’t accept that and the players know that.”
Looking ahead to the weekend, the manager said that injured defenders Jamie Reckord and Ben Richards-Everton would be “touch and go” for the visit of Solihull Moors.
Reckord, who spent two seasons at the Midlands club, missed the 1-0 defeat at Southend United last weekend and the midweek draw with a knee infection, whilst Richards-Everton was also absent at Dorking.
The boss also said he had taken precautions with play-maker Lawson D’Ath and defender Chiori Johnson after they were both withdrawn in the second half on Tuesday where they played on an artificial surface.
Hargreaves said: “All the players put a lot of effort in and with those two and their injury history, we have to be very careful especially with Lawson to ensure he doesn’t go over that balance of how much he wants to play and how much he can play.
“Chiori came back quickly from an injury which may have kept him out longer because he is so desperate to play. Both of them will be in contention again for the weekend.”
He added that he is continuing to look to bring new faces in after in midweek that he was looking to add to his ranks ahead of the visit of Solihull.
Speaking on Tuesday, the boss said: “Conversations are still ongoing, so we will be continuing that this afternoon and tomorrow.”
The manager has come in for criticism following the poor start to the season with some calling for his dismissal just 12 matches in to his tenure at the club.
The Gloverscast understands there is no threat to Hargreaves’ position with the boss still being backed by its board of directors.
Asked by Three Valleys’ Radio’s Adi Hopper whether he had been surprised at the scale of the challenge at Huish Park since taking over in the summer, Hargreaves said: “I knew it was going to be a tough job, but I’m lucky to be in this position. It’s a privilege and I remind myself that every day.
“It’s a good challenge and we are capable of excelling it and if we hadn’t been as close as we have been, I might not have that attitude.
“The players are giving everything, but on those critical occasions in both boxes we have to be 100% concentrated and on a couple of occasions on we have not done that.”
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