Gray: “We’re Sticking Together And Pushing Together”
Andre Gray was one of three senior players in an otherwise inexperienced line-up against Tranmere Rovers on Thursday evening, and said he was proud of the shift put in by the youngsters despite the eventual defeat in extra time.
“I was really proud of all the young boys, it’s not easy to come in and play against experienced players,” said the 28-year-old.
“A lot of these [Tranmere] players have played at this level and higher for many years so it’s difficult. I’m proud of them and the main thing is they’ve learned a lot from it. I’ve been here and played on this [type of pitch] week in, week out, and it’s not easy, it really isn’t. Especially for the young lads who probably haven’t really experienced these kinds of pitches too much.
“It takes some getting used to and that probably showed in the first half. I think we came out in the second half and put a shift in and got used to it a bit more.”
One Under-23 player who made his first-team debut for the Hornets was Kaylen Hinds. The attacking midfielder was introduced as a half-time substitute and made an instant impact, scoring from a corner to equalise for his team.
“He was very positive, and he put himself about. I think he just grew into the game, especially after his goal. I think he was unlucky not to get a second goal,” said Gray.
“I thought he was fantastic, and he really did change the game. He’s good, he’s strong and powerful.
“Credit to all of them, they come and train with us and work hard. They’re training with very experienced players and that’s an experience in itself. They’re learning and they’re just going to get better and, if they keep pushing, games like this are always going to help.”
Gray was involved on Tuesday night against Aston Villa and then again at Prenton Park on Thursday. The forward was disappointed to see both matches end in defeat but knows all focus must now return to the Premier League.
“We need to just keep working hard, it’s all we can do. We’ve been in a dog fight since the start of the season and we’ve been in one in the cup now as well. But we can’t dwell on anything and we need to keep pushing,” said the striker.
“Even if we won on Tuesday night [against Aston Villa] or won here [at Tranmere], there’s still a lot of work to do. We’ve got a bit of time now until the next game, we’ve just got to keep putting in the work and keep fighting for each other. I think that’s one thing we can say about both games, we fought. We probably lacked a bit of quality here and there but we’re sticking together and we’re pushing together.”