Wright: Saints will be better

Date published: Tuesday 7th July 2015 4:53

Saints lost 1-0 in Armenian capital Yerevan last Thursday in the first leg as they struggled to deal with temperatures approaching 40C and an injury to Murray Davidson.

However, Wright feels the change in conditions and a better understanding of their opponents on Thursday can help his side reach the second qualifying round where they would likely face a trip to Kazakhstan following Kairat Almaty’s 2-0 win over Red Star Belgrade in Serbia.

Wright said: “We didn’t pass the ball well and we know that but the conditions didn’t allow us to press when we really could have.

“I think it affected concentration and decision-making. That’s not an excuse, we should have dealt with it better.

“At home, they will have to experience all we had to experience in terms of travel, being in a hotel, and the temperature will allow us to play with a better intensity, particularly when they have the ball. I’m expecting a totally different game.

“We are a different side when we’re at home, but we need to make the right choices and keep the ball better.

“I think the key thing will be the fact that we have seen them and played against them. The importance of that can’t be underestimated. The lads will have a better understanding.

“I’d imagine we will get seven, eight or nine thousand as well so it’s going to be a pretty good atmosphere as well and I don’t know if they have experienced that recently.”

Saints are in their fourth consecutive European campaign and Wright has already learned valuable lessons from previous seasons.

“Possession of the ball is the one thing,” he added. “When we went to Rosenborg and Lucerne, yes they had the majority of possession but we still had good possession.

“When we’ve played teams at home we have had good possession.

“Patience is important as well. When the tie is at 1-0 it’s important that we have the right balance between having a go at them and making sure we don’t concede.”

Wright has free-agent midfielders Rhys McCabe, Liam Craig and Jim McAlister currently training with his squad.

He had been looking for a left-winger to add to his new strikers, John Sutton and Graham Cummins, but Davidson’s knee injury means he might need to consider a different type of player.

“We have to assess Murray and how long he is going to be out,” Wright said. “We are looking at three or four months.

“Liam Craig was coming in this week to help him out and that’s just a coincidence. But we have Liam, Rhys and Jim McAlister in this week as well, so I have to keep an eye on that as well.

“Then we have to make a decision on whether we go for a left-winger or maybe look for a replacement for ‘Muzz’, because that’s an experienced midfielder we will be down.”

On the three midfielders, Wright added: “The door is open but I’m not in a position to make anybody an offer yet. Over the next five to seven days we will probably have to make a decision.”

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