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Giles backs struggling Bears to bounce back

Warwickshire sport director Ashley Giles says the Bears' squad is hurting, just like the supporters.
Warwickshire sport director Ashley Giles says the Bears' squad is hurting, just like the supporters.

Report by Brian Halford

SPORT director Ashley Giles today assured the club's supporters that everyone in Warwickshire's dressing-room is hurting as much as the fans are after their bad start to the season ­­- and fiercely determined to fight their way out of relegation trouble.

The Bears are bottom of the Specsavers County Championship Division One after four innings defeats in six games and the latest reverse, to Essex by an innings and 164 runs at Chelmsford, triggered a tide of angry comments from upset fans.

Warwickshire now face back-to-back home games starting on the next two Mondays, a day/nighter against Lancashire today, which starts at 2pm, before Middlesex visit Edgbaston starting on July 3.

If they are to deliver a Great Escape of the sort they pulled off in 2010, just two years before winning the championship, it has to start soon.

It has been a jolting start to Giles' tenure as sport director at the club - and he understands the supporters' frustration.

"I fully understand it," he said. "We all do. And we share it.

"We know what the supporters are saying, but it's important that we don't read it too much because it won't make us work any harder and it won't change how we feel. People in that dressing-room are hurting badly.

"The team's pretty low so it's not that we don't hear the fans' frustration, but we can't linger on it. We've got to put all our energies into turning things round because we know it's our job and our responsibility to turn things round.

"We have to believe that we can do that and avoid relegation. It's going to be a very tough task but there are eight games to go and five at home games so we have to make the most of those.

"We are working very, very hard and, while some people might tire of hearing that, at times like this that is what you resort to. People would be pretty disappointed if we weren't.

"Momentum is a fickle thing. When it's with you, it's brilliant, but when it's against you it can be very tough to turn round and you have to look in every corner for solutions, for ways that every single player can improve. We are certainly doing that, but hard work does not always reflect itself immediately in results and winning. Over time it does - and it will. But right now the stats show we are not playing good cricket.

"This situation has come on overnight - we only just scraped survival in Division One last season. It's well-documented that our squad is in a period of transition with quite a few older players. This period is a big test for them."

To those senior players will Giles look for big contributions in the eight remaining games to claw the Bears out of relegation trouble.

"These players have played at a high level for a long time and now we need them to stand tall again," he said. "There's a lot of experience in this squad and I want these guys to be the masters of their own destiny. I don't want them to fade away.

"I'd love them to go out on their own terms. They are a good bunch who have given a lot to Warwickshire over the years and keep going back to the well and we are asking them to go back again and again.

"We can still turn this around but it's going to need the sort of feat we pulled off in 2010. It can be done - but we know it has to start now.

"Lancashire will come here in confident mood having just gone second in the table but it's important that we - players, coaches, everyone - just look within ourselves and ask what can we do? How can we eke out more from ourselves? Believe me, we are racking our brains about what is missing."

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