I had the pleasure of chatting with Alex Palmer yesterday ahead of this weekend’s programme.
It should have been TJ Eyoma gracing the pages, but a technical glitch with my phone meant the recording was lost before I could write it up. That meant Alex filled in at the last minute, so my thanks to him and my apologies to TJ. I guess now which series have kept the Spurs loanee busy during lockdown will remain between me and him! (Spoiler: it was Suits).
Alex and I chatted about a range of subjects, including the recent EPC closure and how it has affected the young squad.
The recent Covid outbreak is just another setback in a long line of problems we have encountered, alongside injuries and the fixture pileup. These are aspects of this season which the players have had to deal with, and the 24-year-old explained to me what issues he saw in the intense scheduling, and how they deal with it.
“Everyone deals with it (the fixture pile-up) in different ways. Personally, it’s been difficult this season. Generally, you’d do Saturday and Tuesday, but you get a break where you don’t have the run.
“Coming off the back of a bad result, you normally come in, shake it off Monday and Tuesday, then Thursday and Friday you have a chance to look forward to the next game.
“We’ve not really had that chance this season, and it is difficult. You come in on a Monday after a bad result and you have to review the game and then immediately look ahead to Tuesday.
“You don’t get the time to refocus, it’s just constant, you go again.”
That lack of time to digest a defeat could be a contributing factor in teams dropping out of form and staying there, and although Alex didn’t say that himself, he does acknowledge the difficulties faced in getting players together after a tough result or two.
“I think that has been the hardest part, just trying to get out on the pitch and put things right without having the time on the training pitch to work on what we don’t do well.
“You have lads who can’t train because they’re injured or have niggles, so it’s been difficult, but everyone is in the same boat.”
Despite the setback, the on-loan West Brom stopper admits there is a lesson to be learned from the adversity.
“The gaffer always says it’s about who deals with disappointment the best, and we’re still a young group so we’re doing ok. In the future, this experience will stand us in good stead.”
Talking of young players, Alex might only be 24, but he has acted as a mentor to Sam Long, or exciting young keeper who has stepped up to number two this season. Sam was recently called up to an England training camp and Alex has been impressed with his development this season.
“Sam is a good lad; we get on well. He’s still learning like I am, but in the time I’ve worked with him he has come on a lot. Some of that is down is down to Steve (Croudson), but it is also down to his willingness to work hard and take on information.
“If one of us sees something in his game and passes on advice, he’s open to it. I think his personality as a whole has been really good, he’s come on in the group over the season and he has a quiet confidence about him.”
Most importantly, that confidence extends to his own skills as a keeper, something Alex feel is an important attribute.
“He backs his own ability, which you need, so the England shout is a really good thing for him to look forward to as an achievement.”
You can read the rest of the interview by picking up a programme from Ignition Media here. In it, Alex talks about West Brom, England at the Euro’s, the Covid layoff and how he’s coped personally, as well as much more.