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CLEARING THE WAY

Posted on 29 November 2006  - 12:00

Michael Dawson hopes the team will feel the benefit of a clear week in the build-up to the visit to Arsenal on Saturday.

Michael Dawson hopes the team will feel the benefit of a clear week in the build-up to the visit to Arsenal on Saturday.It has certainly not been a usual feature of the season so far. With the exception of international breaks, the team has only enjoyed one other midweek without a fixture - the gap between the Reading and Blackburn games.

The comparison with last season is marked. A total of just 40 competitive games were participated in last term, a figure included just two cup ties. This time around we have already competed in seven cup games.

Daws said the extra workload is not proving an issue as the team have got into tune with the extra demands.

"We are getting used to it, I think," considered the popular central defender. "It is hard at first, but we are becoming accustomed to it. We've got a clear week now before Arsenal and I won't know what to do with myself!

"Our results haven't really been affected much by the extra games as has been shown by our games after coming back from European games on a Thursday night. We've had a bit of fortune with being at home, but you just get on with it. We know what to do, you've got to prepare right and rest and recover.

"I'm not a big fan of having periods without games and last season there was too long between fixtures. At the moment we are not doing too much training as it is all games and it is great - all footballers want to do is get out there and play games," added the England squad man who admits skipping a match to take a rest is really not his style.

"You want to play in every game, not be rested. There is plenty of recovery methods and it is all about looking after yourself."

Meanwhile, Daws looked back on the weekend victory over Wigan and reflected that he is happy that Jermain Defoe did onto others what he often does to him...

"It was quite early in the game when we went down, but with our midfielders and strikers we always know we can get back into it. Jermain's was a little bit of magic and I'm glad he has done that to someone in the Premiership because he seems to do it to me in training quite often.

"Berbo's finish was fantastic and then young Lenny popped up. He works so hard in creating chances for others so it was nice for him to get one himself. That is two for him now with the Chelsea one and he is a fantastic player.
"It was tough against Wigan, a big physical battle where we came out on top. We needed those three points."