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Interviews

The MANarama Big Interview: Weekend off? Matt Gray hits the road to turn things around.

11 November 2019

In a special feature, League sponsors MANarama find out the manager has had a rather busy few days. Interview by Sam Elliott

A rare Saturday off. A chance to put your feet up, enjoy a football free weekend and maybe make a start on the Christmas shopping. Not if you're Matt Gray. His family have hardly seen him over the past few days.

“I swapped one match for two,” he laughed. “Too early to start thinking about Christmas anyway! We may not have had a game but two of the teams we're playing over the next few weeks did and on separate days so I did a double header. On Saturday I watched Torquay at Maidstone in the FA Cup and on Sunday it was Bristol as Bromley had their first round game. Of course we wish we were still in the competition but you've got to take positives where you can find them.

It's been a very busy first few months of the season. We gave the players the weekend off and it's allowed them the chance to recharge. We haven't got a big squad, so handling the players is important. It was worth my while watching Torquay and Bromley. Videos are great, they help a lot but nothing beats seeing a team play first hand. You learn a lot and you need to use every opportunity you are given. We've got some big games coming up and we'll be better for seeing them up close, I'm sure of that.”

Gray could do without such a testing run of results so early into his management career. The club have won only once since August, a run that the boss acknowledges as “demanding” but not something he is losing sleep over. So often in these circumstances fingers are pointed. Not at Gander Green Lane. In fact, Gray has only good things to say about his players.

“It's very hard to fault them - very hard,” he adds. “During this run I can honestly say I don't think we have deserved to lose a league game. Especially in recent weeks, and I know that may sound strange. We went up to Barrow and were so unlucky - their manager, with the incredible run they have been on, says it was their best win of the season. That says it all.

We're losing by one goal and my belief is that this will change. When we get that big result, it could turn our whole season. It's about getting it, and being on the right end of a decision, a little luck, or the opposition not having a good day.

This is the most difficult spell I have had since I stopped playing but I do think it's how you handle these type of moments which defines you. How we cope with it is to work harder. The players are unbelievable - they are still the same group they were in August. They aren't down.

I've got to say also the board and directors have been first class, as have the supporters. What is great is that they know and respect this is a transitional year for Sutton United. They know Dos was here a long, long time and things won't just happen overnight.

It's about staying in this league and building. The fans should know we are absolutely committed to climbing the table and getting wins on the board.

The club is united and things will turn, I'm certain of that.”

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