Widnes manager Dave Dempsey has called on his players for a response after he was left fuming after their FA Cup defeat to Bury AFC.
The Whites slumped to defeat against Bury last Sunday and Dempsey pulled no punches in his assessment of the showing.
Widnes return to league action where they have a point from their opening two games. The draw came against Bootle thanks to Stephen Rigby’s long-distance effort.
They welcome Colne to the DCBL Stadium this Saturday, before heading to Macclesfield on Monday.
Dempsey says the visit of Phil Brown’s side is the ‘perfect game’ for his side to bounce back from their disappointing outing, last weekend.
He told Off The Park: “That’s what they’ve got to do, we’ve only got a small squad so lads will getting opportunity, some lads will miss out on the squad.
“Like I’ve said in the past, we’ll take anyone at our place, we’ve got a gameplan and nine times out of 10 it’s executed pretty well. If there are any perfect games, it’s Saturday for us to bounce back and then the small question of Macclesfield away on the bank holiday Monday.
“It’s an action-packed weekend this week, we’ll prepare as best as we can, there might be one or two new faces coming through the door which will liven up the playing squad, make the lads question their performances this weekend. The result last weekend isn’t one I’m taking lightly, it’s really up to the players to bounce back and react.”
Speaking on the FA Cup exit to Bury, the Widnes boss spoke of his anger in which his side were beaten by the North West Counties side.
He continued: “I don’t mind getting beat, you’re going to lose games of football that’s a given but for me, it’s the manner in which you get beat.
“If you get beat giving it a good go, creating chances, getting pipped in the last minute or the team’s had to work hard for their goal I don’t mind that. I’ll hold my hands up and say they were the better team at times when we get beat.
“But when you get beaten, you down tools, lads go against what you’ve asked them to do and there’s zero quality from your side for 90 minutes, we make changes and there’s no reaction, players strolling about the pitch looking like the weight of the world is on their shoulders – that just doesn’t sit right with me.
“I’ve openly said it to the players that I’m not going to defend them on the back of that result because it was a result I wasn’t expecting, I felt we had a good chance to progress in the cup, we prepared right, we did everything we could do but on the day it just didn’t go to plan. As a collective, we can only put it down to one thing and it was the attitude of the players on the day.
“Flat,” Dempsey described the dressing room atmosphere following the defeat. “The dressing room wasn’t a nice play to be after the game.
“The lads do care, they’ve got beat and knocked out the FA Cup and it hurts them but we’ve got to see the players looking bothered whilst they’re playing football not after the game. People might read this interview and think it’s massively harsh and he’s hanging his players out to dry, I’m not doing that I’m just speaking the truth.
“I’m not saying anything that I haven’t said to the players after the game, it’s up to them to go out and perform. It was flat, miserable in the dressing, there’s players in the dressing room saying all the right things but it’s alright saying the right things when you’ve been beaten and knocked out of the cup and you can’t do anything about it.
“I’d rather see actions whilst they’re playing and putting it right during the game, not a great environment, we’ve had a few words after the game – nothing too much – hopefully we’ll train well this week and have a reaction come Saturday.”