Alloa Athletic caretaker boss Paddy Connolly talks exclusively to Advertiser Sport about the turbulent last few weeks for the club, the dressing room reaction, his future at the club, his hopes for the rest of the season and possible new signings at Recreation Park.
Were you and the players disappointed with the Raith Rovers game being called off?
“We are bitterly disappointed that the game was postponed but there is nothing we can do about the weather. It was a disappointing result for us last week and with everything that happened with the manager, I was looking for a reaction from the players and I am sure we would’ve got that had the game been on.”
What has the atmosphere at the club been like since the departure of Paul Hartley?
“The first night back at training was a wee bit flat and subdued but that that is to be expected because many of them have been here from day one with Paul Hartley.
“So there was always going to be that reaction initially but Thursday was much better and they were well up for the game before it was called off.
“We are all still in a bit of shock with the manager’s departure and this is a great club with a great bunch of boys so I don’t want to leave.
“We will be fine though - that’s football - we will regroup and go again. The suspensions and injuries are catching up with everybody as well as ourselves so we won’t moan about that and we just have to get on with it.”
The club are light on numbers at the moment, is there any scope for new signings?
“Yes there is and the chairman has given me permission to add a couple of players, I am in the process of speaking to a few players and I await their answer which will hopefully come later this week.
“A centre back is a priority for us because we need cover for Jason and Ben. Maybe that is just what we are needing - one or two new faces - just to give the players and the fans a wee bit of a lift.”
What is your own future at the club? Would you be willing to work under a new manager?
“I am happy to keep the reigns until such time as the chairman appoints the new manager. I am on trial at the moment the same as the players, we are going through a tough time and we have to come through that. We just need a result rather than a performance and then we can build from there.
“I am happy that the chairman has given me the opportunity to take the team until further notice and I am quite happy to do that.
“I will just take it one game at a time and I am not thinking too far ahead in terms of my own future. I would definitely be happy to work under the new manager at least until the end of the season and we could take it from there.
“I still think this team has a lot to achieve this season and I want to be a part of that. I have enjoyed my time with the club immensely and I want to be part of what can be yet another successful season.”
Is there a danger of the club being sucked into a relegation battle at the bottom end of the table?
“My first team talk is pretty much done for me because people are already writing us off again. They did that in the summer when we were supposedly relegation candidates and now again because we have lost the manager. We are sitting two points outside the playoffs with a game in hand.
“The players deserve a tremendous amount of credit for what they have done this season and I am sure they will be fine to go again. We are dangerous animals when pushed into a corner and this kind of thing can only be an incentive for us.”
A difficult task against Dundee up at Dens Park this weekend?
“It was always going to be a difficult fixture going to Dundee this weekend but with them losing to Falkirk then it makes it that little bit more difficult for us. But I will go with a positive frame of mind, we will go there and have a go and try and win the game.
“The boys all have a point to prove with all the attention being on them at the moment, I know they are desperate to put things right from the Dumbarton game and I expect a big reaction from them.”
Are the Wasps out for revenge against Dumbarton in the cup in two weeks?
“Obviously, Dumbarton came and turned us over on our own patch. They gave us the first real hiding we have had this season.
“There is no denying that and they might take confidence from that going into the cup game in two weeks time but it gives us real incentive to go and make amends. It is great to have that chance so quickly after the 5-1 defeat.
“We will go into the game with the belief that we can get a result. We are looking forward to that one but we will get the Dundee game out the way first.”