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Macca Hoping Players Can Keep Up The Good Form

Town goalkeeper James McKeown is hoping the Mariners can continue their good league form when they welcome Crawley Town to Blundell Park this Saturday (3pm).

13 October 2017

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Town goalkeeper James McKeown is hoping the Mariners can continue their good league form when they welcome Crawley Town to Blundell Park this Saturday (3pm).

Russell Slade’s side take on Harry Kewell’s men in Sky Bet League Two this weekend, following just one defeat in their last six league games, and McKeown says there’s currently a good atmosphere around the club.

Speaking on iFollow Mariners, the 28-year-old said: “I do think the group probably feels that we’re starting to put a run together now where we are picking up wins and draws, and not too many defeats, which is what you want.

“There is a good feeling around the club at the minute so I’m hoping that we can keep the momentum going.

“The league is so tight and obviously they’re below us at the minute, but they’ll be looking at us thinking ‘We can get above them,’ and be pushing towards a play-off position, which is obviously what we’re trying to do.

“Last year our game there, we lost 3-2, we weren’t great so I think it’ll be a tough game.

“It’s making sure that we do it week-in-week-out, and not every other week, and that is what’s tough, and I suppose that’s the key to success really – making sure if you’re not at your best, you draw. And when you’re at your best, you get the wins.

“At the minute we’re having good performances, but then we’re having performances where we’re having to dig in but we are getting something still, which is massive for us.

“It is your group. Your group’s massive. The group that comes on the pitch off the bench, the lads that aren’t involved, it makes a huge difference to the atmosphere around the club.

“And that whole aspect is good at the minute so I just hope it keeps going.”

But it’s not just the atmosphere in the dressing room that has impressed the keeper – who’s made 276 league appearances for Town so far in his career – this season.

“The away fans, they help the lads so much. Coming off the back of the Lincoln game and seeing so many there, but then to go away, with the fans, it makes such a big difference for the lads.

“No matter where we go, no matter how we’re getting on, they’re always there, they’re always singing, and it makes a big difference.

“And I think the atmosphere has been very good this year at home. Our fans this year have been very good, they’ve stuck with us, and there’s been times where we’ve probably not really deserved it – we’ve not been great, which unfortunately happens.

“Everyone knows what the fans are about. For me, because I’ve been here for such a long time, I do have a connection with them.

“I just hope that over the course of the season, they see it is a group that gives their best every week, and it’s not always going to be good enough, but we do give our best.”

Town are now 13th in the league and, following the Mariners earning their second league clean sheet of the season against Lincoln City last month, McKeown believes the club’s defence will continue to improve.

“We’ve got a bit of continuity there – I think there’s six defenders really, and that’s good for us because I’ve played before and it’s a lot harder than what people think when it changes constantly.

“So I think that’s made a big difference really, and hopefully as the season progresses you’ll see that coming to fruition.

“It’s probably clear if you look at the record that we want to keep more clean sheets – I think it’s been two.

“Before the start of the season we had an aim that we wanted to achieve and we need to do better in that respect.”

And he was certainly encouraged by the signs he saw during the 2-1 victory at Port Vale last weekend.

“I thought it was good. I think we showed good character to come from behind because it’s tough – certainly since we’ve been back in the League.

“The last year-and-a-half we’ve found that a little bit really, where if you go behind in games it is tough to get back in them, and likewise when we take the lead.

“And very late on they put a lot of balls into the box from everywhere. I thought to a man, defensively, we were fantastic.”

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