Harps on tonight
As the longest serving player at the club, Steve Harper has almost taken on the role of official spokesman for the players, holding the dressing room together and being considered media savvy enough to deliver non-controversial answers that the press won`t pick up on and hideously skew to fit their agenda. This time Harps has called on the fans to lay off the negativity and get behind the team, regardless of numbers there:
"The situation is what it is - as a bunch of players we can`t change that. I think things probably came to a head on and off the field for everybody when we played Hull. That should not take anything away from Phil Brown and his team because they got a good result. The situation had no effect on Saturday`s result at West Ham.
Yes, we are missing half a dozen players from what would be our starting XI. But, apart from a couple of patches of decent football, we conceded bad goals at bad times. That`s nothing to do with the situation. It`s our job as professionals to go out there and do the business on the pitch. We have to go out there against Spurs and Blackburn and get good results.
There is no need to panic - if we can get a result tonight then win on Saturday we could quite easily find ourselves into the next round and into the top half of the table. There are only a few games gone and, although we are adrift at the bottom of the league, it shows that if you can string one or two results together, you can comfortably get back into the top table. This is a massive football club.
And no matter how many fans turn up tonight, whether there are 15,000 or 50,000 we will get their full support and we need that. The situation is what it is and they can help us through it. We have the rest of the season still to go and we have worked hard in the last few days on formations and tactics. We even practiced penalties. We have done everything possible for tonight to get us into the next round of the cup. That will give everybody a lift."
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