Fleet assistant manager Ian Hendon saw his old side Barnet put to the sword after a troubling weekend for his current club and he said the response was all about character.
The former Barnet defender was given the media-reaction responsibilities by Garry Hill following Fleet’s 3-0 win on Tuesday night.
“Garry’s delighted with the result and he just said as it was my old club, he’s let me have a go. Thankfully it was after a win,” Hendon told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster.
“When you play against your old teams, whether you’re playing, coaching or managing, you always want to get one over on them. Nothing against anyone at Barnet, I had a fantastic time there for many years as player, coach and manager so it’s always sweet when that happens, but I wish them well now.”
Well-wishing was probably not in great supply at the Kuflink Stadium after Saturday’s reverse but Hendon was pleased with the reaction. And he was even more happy that Fleet got through the 90 minutes with a barebones squad, including Lawrie Wilson who played through the pain barrier for part of Saturday with a dead leg.
“Wils has played tonight, he’s had a bit of a problem over the weekend as well but he’s come out and showed a lot of character and for me probably played his best game tonight for us,” Hendon said. “He was solid at the back. They’re the sort of characters we want.
“It was difficult to do a lot of work in that period [since Barrow] when you’ve only got what we’d probably call 12 senior players available. Gozie was on the bench, he’s had an eye infection so he’s come in and said he wants to be on the bench but he was nowhere near fit to play. We are down to the bones.
“First and foremost it’s about your character on the pitch. Especially after Saturday and a bit of a to-do in the dressing room as you would expect. Garry doesn’t mince his words as everyone knows and rightly so after that. It’s been a tough few days for everyone at the club but that’s the response we were looking for.”
Hendon placed great emphasis on his side’s effort against Barnet and considers that the minimum levels now going forward.
“We had it here against Aldershot, where we thought we were below par. Coming into Saturday’s game after the results at Woking and a couple of draws we thought we should have won, we thought that was going to happen again against Barrow at home.
“There was a few harsh words said after the game and the lads have responded how they should. That was minimum requirement tonight, that work rate and ethic. It’s funny when you work hard you seem to get that little bit of luck as well. So going forward that’s where we’ve got to be.
“We said in the dressing room, Barnet have come back from Halifax after a 4-2 defeat, a long trip back, if we get the first goal they’ve not got the experience in their side that they would have as we’re aware they’ve got a few injuries as well but they’ve carrying a much bigger squad than we are. It all went to plan so we’re very pleased.”
The win was as much a relief as anything going into two far-flung away trips but Hendon believes the league is still a little topsy-turvy and that Fleet can pull away on the evidence of six of the last eight games.
“It’s two tough games on the road but as I say if we put that work rate and that effort in then we will compete with anybody,” he said.
“[Look at] a lot of the teams in the bottom seven from last year. Fylde, Eastleigh, Wrexham were in there, we were just outside [the play-offs], Chesterfield pre-season favourites. Take Chorley out of the equation and you’d say the six teams in and around it you’d expect to be in the top half of the table. But that’s this league.
“We’ve got the players in there. Good players, experienced players as we keep telling them. We’ve been doing all right. Take the Barrow game out of it, we’ve had a few draws and away from home to go to the league leaders and go 2-0 down and come back, it shows there is that character in there and we’ve got to do that in abundance on Saturday.”