A Blether with Bomber

written by John Kelly, Club Reporter


Brown “Bomber” Ferguson has, for the second time in a year, taken over after Stenhousemuir have parted company with their manager, although the situation this time is somewhat different to Bomber's first spell when he was tasked with trying to get the Warriors into the play-offs, one year later it will be the play-offs he will be looking to avoid and move away from the League One danger zone.

It will not be an easy challenge but one Bomber is ready to take on, he said: “It was difficult circumstances both times, it is never nice when people are asked to move on or lose their jobs but the important thing is we have a job to do and we are here to do it.

“Last year it was about trying to get into the play-offs and this year it is about avoiding them but my philosophy on it this year and last year is not so much what the outcome is, we are fully aware of what the outcome we need is and what we are trying to do, it is how are we going to do it.

“The initial stages of this week and next will be focusing in on what we are required to do and hopefully we will get the results to move away from the danger area.

With no game Saturday, due to prospective opponents Stranraer being involved in the Scottish Cup, Bomber would have to wait before his first spell but he was unworried by this, saying: “I have not viewed it as positive or negative, it is what it is and has fell at this time.

“In terms of what has happened this week, when anything like this happens there are obviously a lot of question marks, it could be players questions about X or Y or could be whatever, so this week has given us a chance of closure on a lot of these questions and allows us to start to refocus our efforts. Probably it is a good thing as it does give us a period of time to put closure on last week and then we can focus on the next game.

“We have given the players the weekend off then we are going to have a good training session Tuesday and we are playing a match between ourselves tonight [last Thursday] essentially just to gauge the response of players, how they are performing and how they are reacting and then the weekend off is to spend with their families in the knowledge that, obviously, the next three months is going to be hard hard work to try to improve. So it probably is a bit of a plus as it gives us that.

Despite the poor season so far there have been times when Stenny have performed well but were unable to turn that performance into a win and Bomber knows he has to get the team to find ways to win games, he said: “What I said to the players is that we are not far away at all. People say the league position does not lie and if that is the case we are not far away at all, we are in a position amongst a lot of other clubs.

“I think, in my opinion, if you go back to before the new year there was a period of six games where the performance level was fairly consistent, obvious not for every minute of these games, but that was our best spell of the season, we won three and lost three and in that was the Brechin game when we got beat two nil and the performance level was excellent that day.

“We have to remind the players we are capable of that type of performance, of being on the front foot, of being committed and aggressive and getting in the final third and being positive, getting shots on goal and crosses into the box. We are capable of doing that, it is a case of reminding them and focusing them for the next game.

“My point to the players is that our performance at Stranraer and the Brechin game, even though we got beat, is if you perform at that level consistently you will win more than you lose and there were other performances in that six game spell when I thought we were looking a lot better.

Looking to the future, Bomber knows it will be difficult but also that he will have to do it with little or no addition to the squad, although he is happy with the situation, saying: “There is not a lot of scope at the moment to be bringing players in, although there may be an opportunity to do that at some point but we have got to look for that right type of person who is going to be able to do the job that is required of him over the course of the season.

“There is not a huge amount of money to do that so it is a case of being patient and if the right person presents himself we will look at him. At the moment we have a squad of 18 who have not had too many issues with injuries over the course of the season, obviously there have been one or two but this season we have not had too many, which has been a good thing and we have good players in that squad.”

It is fairly obvious what Stenny must do to be safe, it is how they win games that is the tougher question and Bomber knows this which is why he is more concerned with how Stenny play, rather than just targeting vital games.

“There are must win games,” said Bomber, adding:”but my philosophy as a player and certainly now as a coach is very much a case of what is it you do to win games rather than just focussing on the outcome.

“The players are fully aware, when you step into a changing room you know when it is a big game but focussing on the outcome makes it too difficult to pin things down and the emotion can actually cloud what goes on, we have all seen games when we have been terrible and won and seen games when we have been brilliant and lost, so we must ask what is it we need to do consistently to perform at the level required.

“I have not targeted any must win games, these will become apparent as the season unfolds and when they come we will hopefully be in the right frame of mind to put in a good performance.”