Louis Storey admits there has been honest reflection and open conversations amongst the playing and coaching staff ahead of tonight’s trip to Scunthorpe United.
Gateshead fell to a 3-1 defeat to Woking at Gateshead International Stadium on Saturday, with the performance not hitting the required levels by the coaching staff’s own admission.
The Heed face second-bottom outfit Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park tonight (7:45pm kick off), and Storey says Monday gave everyone a good opportunity to reflect on the weekend’s result.
“We’ve had an honest and open reflection with regards to our performance on Saturday,” he said.
“There are markers that we expect to hit as a foundation for performance and we didn’t hit those, so it was a good day of learning.
“It’s been a challenging period over the weekend for the group to digest that sort of performance and result, but ultimately we’re going to be stronger for it.
“Even in winning scenarios we’ll always look at what we can do more of, it’s never enough, because we want to evolve and push the performances to the highest level that we can.
“We’ve had open and honest conversations about what we can do tomorrow and for the rest of the season and the lads have really embraced that.
“We have a clear idea and understanding of our game plan and what we need to do tomorrow to bounce back from Saturday’s performance, and to get the performance and result that we want tomorrow night.”
The Heed face a Scunthorpe side adjusting to a difficult start to life in the Vanarama National League with interim boss Tony Daws, assisted by former Gateshead duo Michael Nelson and Paul Musselwhite, replacing Keith Hill after five defeats in six games.
The Iron have won one, drawn five and lost three of their nine games under Daws’ guidance, and currently sit one point behind Gateshead in the league table.
“We’ve watched their last few games and we’ve seen good performances that they’ve had over the last two or three weeks,” continued Storey.
“They’ll be in a period where they’ll be looking to turn things around and change momentum for themselves.
“We’ve said to the lads that we ultimately need to turn around our confidence to try and change our own performances, so a lot of it is going to be looking at ourselves.
“We’ve identified what we see as areas they’ll look to try and hurt us as well as how we’re going to nullify that, and more importantly how our game plan and identity is going to allow us to hit the benchmarks we want to hit.
“The group are relishing the challenge of getting things back on track from a performance point of view, and once we get the performances we know that more times than not we’ll get the results we need.
“The lads know what we need to do, and are really focused on what’s going to get us the desired result and performance.”
The Heed will, however, be without midfield ever-present Owen Bailey at Glanford Park after the 23-year-old was taken off following a head injury in Saturday’s defeat to Woking.
“Owen is going to be out of the game and looking to return on Saturday at the earliest unfortunately,” Storey said.
“We’ve assessed all of the boys in regards to their physical condition and managing the loads that we’ve had over the last two weeks, as well as looking ahead at the next couple of weeks with Tuesday and Saturday games again.”
Storey is well underway with his own rehabilitation process after suffering a broken foot against Boreham Wood on September 17, though it remains a number of weeks before he can return to action.
“There have been positive strides in the last week or so in terms of the boot being off,” he said.
“Unfortunately, it still looks like another four-week period at minimum. I’m having regular conversations with Chris [Bell] and he’s managing the situation.
“From a personal point of view, all I want to do is contribute to the cause.
“I’m doing that a little more from a coaching perspective potentially than when I’m balancing both roles, but I want to be out there with the lads on the pitch, mucking in and doing my bit.
“I’ve been able to channel the energy and potential frustration into trying to help the team as much as I can from a coaching perspective, and I’m quite fortunate and blessed that I can do that.
“I have reflected on that myself actually in terms of how lucky I have it in that respect, and to be honest I feel as though this period has definitely made me a better coach.
“Getting to see things from the side-lines and in the stands has been a way to keep that relationship and relevance of what it’s like to be a player.
“Mike and Busted [Ian Watson] get that balance really well in not forgetting what it’s like and understanding the demand that we put on the players as coaching staff.
“It’s been nice to maintain and continue that and help the boys on an individual and collective basis.”