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Stephen Robinson spoke to the media on Friday morning, ahead of the weekend’s final Betfred Cup match with Annan Athletic.
The Motherwell boss covered the game itself, as well as new signing Christy Manzinga, the departure of Danny Johnson and the potential for further additions.
On Annan Athletic
“I think it is going to be a tough game. There’s not been loads in their games.
“Morton scored late goals against Annan. Dumbarton only beat them by a goal. No game is easy.
“You seen Crusaders against Wolves last night. If a team sits in, no matter what quality you have it’s very, very difficult to break them down. As we found against Dumbarton, as we found against Queen of the South as well.
“We are going to have to be patient. We have to move the ball quickly and hope that our forward players can produce a little bit of magic.
“But again, patience will be the key.”
On Christy Manzinga
Yeah we’ve had Christy [Manzinga] for over a month now. He’s really impressed me.
“He’s like Cedric [Kipré]. A little bit older, but he’s had to wait for his opportunity.
“He’s really exciting, I think. He’s a gamble worth taking. Really quick, really strong. Gives us another option as a number nine and in wide areas.
“It’ll still be another month or so before we see him on the pitch. But I feel he will be a decent signing for us if he progresses.”
On Danny Johnson
“Danny [Johnson] hasn’t played for me since Ross County in the cup in January. He hasn’t started a game.
“He’s a brilliant boy, Danny. He has been exemplary with his attitude. Some players when they’re not in the team aren’t. But he has been.
“It was unfair of me to keep him here and not make him a starter. All he wants to do is play football. His attitude has been tremendous at the football club.
“He scored some important goals for us as well. But the direction I am moving in, I didn’t see Danny playing for me.And it’s important to be fair to him as well.
“That’s what we’ve done and he goes with our very best wishes. A very good professional.”
On potential further additions
“There’s still a couple of things ongoing as well, as I’ve said previously.
“It has to be the right person. It has to be a starter.
“We are not going to bring in and fill the squad. We’ve got younger boys in the background we feel can make up that squad.
“It has to be the right person. So we will be patient.
“There’s still a few more weeks left. There may be something done further down the line.”
Reserves & Under 18s
Reece McAlear joins Norwich City
Friday 26 July 2019
Reece McAlear has left Motherwell to join Norwich City on a permanent basis, subject to international clearance.
The 17-year-old will join the East Anglian side after 13 months as a professional at Fir Park.
Motherwell tried to secure the player on a longer contract during the summer, but it was clear that any extended stay beyond May 2020 was extremely unlikely.
Despite that, several approaches from Norwich were rejected, before terms were finally agreed on a deal which gives the club a short-term cash injection, coupled with the ability to claim future money should the player develop further.
“It is very much our hope that the player development pathway we provide at Motherwell results in our academy graduates progressing to professional level, then eventually into the first team,” chief executive Alan Burrows explained.
“We had high hopes for Reece. He was getting closer and closer and indeed, played several first-team friendly matches during pre-season. We had positive conversations with the player, his family and his representatives about extending his stay.
“However, it was clear this was an opportunity Reece wanted to explore and probably would’ve explored, when his contract expired at the end of the season, had we not managed to agree a deal with Norwich now.
“This will see the club secure cash in advance, as well as maintaining some economic rights should his career continue to develop.
“It also demonstrates clearly the excellent work of our scouting and coaching staff, and further emphasises Motherwell as the club for young footballers to progress.”
Everyone at Motherwell FC would like to thank Reece for his time at Fir Park and wish him every success in his future career.
Danny Johnson leaves for Dundee
Friday 26 July 2019
Danny Johnson has left Motherwell to join Dundee.
The forward, who joined on at Fir Park in the summer of 2018 from Gateshead, moves to the Ladbrokes Championship side on a permanent basis.
“Danny has an opportunity to go and play regular football, and we didn’t want to stand in his way,” manager Stephen Robinson said.
“He has conducted himself very professionally throughout and I am certain he will go on to do well for Dundee.
“He was a little unfortunate not to get more game time for various reasons. But he scored some important goals for us and we wish him well in his move. He’s always welcome here.”
Everyone at Motherwell thanks Danny for his efforts at the club, and wish him well in the future.
‘Well add French forward Christy Manzinga
Thursday 25 July 2019
Christy Manzinga is Motherwell’s tenth new recruit of the summer window.
The 24-year-old frontman has been with the club for several weeks and has already demonstrated his ability, having scored a spectacular bicycle kick against Gretna in pre-season.
He also featured in a closed-door bounce game against Partick Thistle. That, combined with his performances in training, has convinced ‘Well boss Stephen Robinson to add him to the squad on a one-year deal, with the option for a second year.
“We are excited by what we’ve seen from Christy and are pleased to add him to the squad,” the Fir Park gaffer said.
“Even after the first day in training, we thought there was something there.
“We would’ve added him sooner, but we spotted a small issue during his medical that is being sorted by our head physiotherapist, David Henderson.
“He is four to six weeks away from getting to fitness. When he does, we feel he will be a big addition to our forward line.
“He has played a lot as a number nine, but he can also play on either flank. He’ll bolster our options and add even more pace and power to our forward line.”
Christy came through the youth ranks at PSG, signing as a 13-year-old and playing in the same youth team as Cedric Kipré, as well as alongside Adrian Rabiot, Presnel Kimpembe, Ferland Mendy and Kingsley Coman.
Spells at French sides Lorient and Angers followed in his late teens, before moving to Belgium with Royal Châtelet. He has also represented DR Congo at Under 21 level.
He will wear squad number 12 during the 2019/20 campaign.
Next up: Annan Athletic
Thursday 25 July 2019
Annan Athletic are the visitors on Saturday, as Motherwell wrap up their Betfred Cup group stage campaign.
With three wins from three, the Steelmen still need a fourth victory to ensure progression in the competition, and the chance to be seeds in the last 16.
Ticket prices for all matches are set at £12 for adults and £6 for concessions. Supporters can pay at the gate.
Motherwell still need a point to guarantee progression as group winners, while a win should guarantee we’re seeded for Sunday evening’s draw for the last 16.
Annan Athletic cannot progress, having picked up one point from their three games so far in a draw with Queen of the South.
Come have something to eat before the game
Both the Centenary Suite and Cooper Bar will be open from 12pm for all fans to come in and enjoy food and drink before the match.
Can’t make it? Listen or watch live
Wherever you are, there’s live audio commentary available on our live streaming serice for £5.99 a month. Just head to tv.motherwellfc.co.uk to subscribe.
Highlights as Motherwell win at Dumbarton
Wednesday 24 July 2019
Christian Ilić and Peter Hartley were on target for Motherwell in a 2-0 win at Dumbarton on Tuesday.
The goals ensured Stephen Robinson’s men made it three wins from three in their Betfred Cup group, heading into the final match with Annan Athletic on Saturday.
Robinson: We solved the problems
Tuesday 23 July 2019
“We dominated from start to finish. We solved the problems and eventually wore them down.”
Stephen Robinson speaks after the win at Dumbarton.
Motherwell win at Dumbarton
Tuesday 23 July 2019
Motherwell made it three wins from three in their Betfred Cup group with a comfortable 2-0 win at Dumbarton.
Christian Ilić and Peter Hartley scored in either half to ensure victory, having controlled large parts of the game.
Ilić was one of four changes for Motherwell, with Maguire, Hartley and Grimshaw also coming in. Jake Carroll, Charles Dunne, Liam Donnelly and Sherwin Seedorf dropped out.
On a long pitch at Dumbarton, the visitors had to adapt their normal fast-paced wing play, but did so well.
After knocking at the door for long spells, hitting both the post and the crossbar, the deadlock was broken before the interval in mildly controversial circumstances.
With the ball on the left of the box in Motherwell possession, the linesman’s flag on the near side went up quickly, then immediately back down again, as Hylton and Tait stepped over the ball.
With play then eventually being worked back to Ilić just behind the penalty spot, the Croatian swept home the ball into the bottom left corner to open the scoring.
The home team protested that the linesman had flagged, but the referee waved them away, saying no decision had been made and that play rightly continued.
Motherwell continued to surge forward in the second half, with Hylton in particular causing major trouble down the left side.
The second would come from a set play with 15 minutes to go. Polworth’s corner kick delivery from the right was met by the man who rose highest, with Hartley nodding down into the bottom right corner of the net.
Motherwell’s progression to the knockout stage still isn’t secure, however, with a win required against Annan Athletic to make sure.
Subs not used: Carson, Sloth, Livingstone, Donnelly.
Allan Campbell signs improved deal
Tuesday 23 July 2019
Allan Campbell has signed an improved contract with Motherwell Football Club.
The academy graduate has established himself as a key figure in the first team in recent seasons, making 85 appearances for the club.
The 21-year-old’s contract runs until the summer of 2021.
“We have now put Allan in line with other first team players,” manager Stephen Robinson said.
“We felt it was a deserved reward for his hard work and his consistent performances.
“He is continuing to improve with every game, and devotes his life to constantly trying to get better.
“He is a brilliant role model to every young player in our academy. He epitomises everything we strive for at this club with his work ethic and talent.
“When he signed his previous deal, he was at a different stage of his career. His development and growth has accelerated to such an extent that it was vital we matched that with terms to reflect that.”