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Manchester v Birmingham Tigers: Chris Vernon preview

by Michael Henson

Head Coach Chris Vernon insists that Manchester's performance will be key on Sunday when they meet Birmingham Tigers at Belle Vue, 4.30pm kick off.

With it only being the Club's third game since the start of December, Vernon is wanting a good showing for the fans as Manchester look to qualify for the end of season play-offs.

"Performance is everything from now till the end of the season," he said.

 "I need this team to show those who watch what this season means. It's been an up and down season so the next three games are crucial to gain upwards trajectory for the FA Futsal Cup and Super League."

"The game is at Belle Vue, which is where we train, so we're very familiar with the venue and the court so hopefully that will give us an extra advantage against Birmingham Tigers.

The weeks off have provided an extra addition to the backroom staff in the form of captain Sam Richardson and Vernon states that it's been a positive turn around since the previous win against Sheffield.

He commented: "Training has taken a different directions since recent defeats. More attention to detail has been added with the addition of UEFA B candidate and Club Captain Sam Richardson.

"Players have been on a learning journey and now gained an extra coach during the session. I feel it's been a very positive turnaround."

Manchester came out on top in the reverse fixture in October, heading back up the M6 with the three points following a 8-3 win, with Vernon confident of another positive result against the Tigers.

"The last game was a very eventful one with our 'keeper being sent off early into the game," he remarked. "That changed the game plan and we adjusted with a fly routine.

"We had taken a lot from that game after gaining a positive result with a much needed performance. If we perform at that level again, I'm confident of another positive result."

It's been a mixed bag of results for the Club this season, winning five games out of nine so far, but Vernon believes the squad is changing for the better as the younger players step up to replace experienced players on occasions.

Vernon said: "The team is slowly changing and a transition is in full force now.

"I've missed some experienced players at times this season, who have been missed.

"The team is still very young and they're still in need of experienced players to guide them but that is slowly changing for the better as the season goes by."

Two games remain following Sunday's clash as the season comes to a close and Vernon believes the team is heading towards the play-offs in a positive position.

Vernon revealed: "We're still learning as a group. The season is another stop-start season, which has been stressful and painful at times.

"As a learning transitional team, we need consistency and that just hasn't happened but I do believe my team is coming alive at the right time for the play-offs."

He continued: "I know this group of players can end on a high with three wins. That's my focus, but it will come from a die hard attitude from each player to perform the best they can on each Sunday."

Another positive from the season is that the Academy side has been performing well in the North Division Two, something that has pleased Manchester's Head Coach.

"It has been a very memorable season for the fact I get to watch a game of futsal after our game," he commented: "I have loved every minute of it.

"I'm a fan first when I watch them and a coach after the game.

"The club is offering youth players the best chance possible to develop and we have some very talented U17's in that team who are performing and growing together.

"I watch and see those young players at first team level in the very near future."

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