Wisbech boss Gary Setchell talks about life in the pressure cooker

GARY SETCHELL has had a tough introduction to football management but the Wisbech player-boss has relished every minute of the challenge. The 33-year-old started with a run of 11 defeats, one win and two draws that saw Wisbech second bottom and staring

GARY SETCHELL has had a tough introduction to football management but the Wisbech player-boss has relished every minute of the challenge.

The 33-year-old started with a run of 11 defeats, one win and two draws that saw Wisbech second bottom and staring relegation in the face.

Three victories, including a 6-1 demolition of Ely City, and a draw eased fears of the drop, but a tough week saw the Fenmen suffer two 1-0 defeats, at Histon Reserves on Tuesday and Leiston on Saturday.

As Wisbech prepare for Saturday's crucial six-pointer at Norwich United, who are second bottom, five points behind Wisbech with a game in hand, Setchell spoke to ADAM LAZZARI about life in the pressure cooker.


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ADAM LAZZARI: Are you confident Wisbech will avoid the drop?

GARY SETCHELL: We've still got a lot of work to do but we're in a much better position than we were a few weeks ago. There are not many teams around the bottom of the table that can pull off a run of three wins and a draw.

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AL: How much of an impact will Saturday's match at Norwich United have on the relegation fight? Are you confident of victory?

GS: It's a definite six-pointer. We nicked a 1-1 draw at home against them and played very poorly and we've been playing well recently so I'm expecting to come away with three points.

AL: How did you manage to turn things around after a tough start?

GS: The players were not fit enough when I took over so I put them some intensive training sessions. It was like going through pre-season, midway through the season. Now they are quicker to close players down and able to get in their faces.

The defence is also working very well. Young Alex Street has come in and done a tremendous job in goal for us, full-backs Lewis Thompson and Jason Pease have been quick to cut out crosses and in Paul Cousins and Anthony Reeve we have one of the best centre-back partnerships in the league. We've only conceded three goals in the last six games. The return of Darren Jimson, from Soham, and Mark Jimson, from long-term injury has also made an impact and raised the spirit a bit, but we were playing well when we were losing, just hadn't had that bit of luck that you sometimes need.

AL: Steve Taylor cited abuse from fans as a major reason for his decision to quit as Wisbech manager before you took over. Have you seen any of that during your time in charge?

GS: Not at all. I've always felt I've had the full support of the fans, even when we went through our bad run. They recognised how much commitment and passion the lads were putting into every game.

AL: Has the job been as you expected? Have you managed to enjoy yourself?

GS: I've loved it. I'm always thinking about the next match and I get a real buzz on match days when I get up and prepare for a game. I love football and realise I won't be able to play too much longer, but I've wanted to be a manager since my mid-20s. The players have been a great bunch to be involved with. Some players never want to go training but these guys love it. Their attitudes are spot on.

AL: Do you think you will be managing Wisbech Town next season and do you have aspirations of a full-time career in management with a professional club? (Setchell has played professionally for Rushden and Diamonds, Kettering Town, Tamworth and King's Lynn and played at Wembley and the Millenium Stadium)

GS: My agreement with the board was to do the job until the end of the season. We will be meeting next month to discuss my position. It's hard to predict what will happen at Wisbech Town but I'd like to be manager next season.

I want to become the best manager I can be, so who knows what the future may hold for me.

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