Neal Bishop has some harsh words for Notts County as Magpies look to bounce back
DESPITE the fact the conversation is peppered with phrases like "I have to choose my words carefully" and "I don't want to say too much", Neal Bishop is clearly not somebody who holds back, when it comes to voicing his opinions.
Hard working and combative on the pitch, the midfielder does not mess about off it either, when it comes to assessing a performance that he admits was the "low point" of his Notts County career.
A 1-0 defeat at home to Preston will not stand out in the history books as being a landmark moment in the club's history.
But an angry Bishop is demanding that it does at least prove to be a turning point.
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And, amid a scathing appraisal of the attitude of his Magpies' team-mates, he says the least they owe the fans is more effort and desire when they face Scunthorpe at Meadow Lane.
"It has to come from inside you. When you are on a football pitch, you cannot think about what has gone off outside," he said. "I have vented my frustration about things that have happened.
"But I'd like to think that, regardless of any other situations, as soon as I go out on that pitch, I want to win.
"It is hard for me to put into words. It has to come from inside you. If you don't have that will to win; that desire, go and find a different profession.
"It is about performing. If you don't want to put in the hard miles, if you don't want to play for the team, if you want to go off and do your own thing, go somewhere else. It is not what this game is about. It is about heart and character.
"We are League One footballers, we are not always going to have a good game. People will accept that. We are not international footballers. Passes will go astray, mistakes will happen.
"But the minimum that fans expect to see is for players to work their you know whats off, when it comes to the team and the club.
"I don't think people on Tuesday saw that. I am not an advocate of people booing during games but certainly, at the end, they made their feelings known. That should hurt us as individuals.
"We should want to bounce back at the first opportunity and show those people we do have the heart and character they expect to see.
"I have to be careful what I say. I don't know whether it was mental or physical tiredness – but we have to be careful not to make excuses.
"We have to come back, we have to be 100 times better than we were on Tuesday."
Bishop believes Notts have a better squad, when it comes to ability, than they did last season. But he is frustrated that it has not been translated into performances or results.
"On paper we are better than we were last year, probably. We should be higher in the league and we should be producing better performances," he said. "You have to say that something is not right.
"I don't know if the constant change in managers has had an effect on people. I wish I could put my finger on it. I just know that, when we look back on this season, we will see it as an opportunity missed.
"When you look at the teams who have turned us over, they have a shape, they have individual jobs to do and they have not got players who want to go off and do their own thing to try to look like the best player on the pitch. They are more than happy to do their jobs within the team."
Manager Chris Kiwomya knows he needs a positive end to the season if he is to have a chance of landing the job on a long-term basis.
And, on that front, Bishop also has a few home truths to offer.
"It is something we feel a responsibility for," he said. "There was disappointment with the way Keith Curle left, but that was not Chris's fault. He has come into the situation and the opportunities for managers are few and far between.
"He has come in and wants to stake his claim. We have not helped him out as much as we could have done, since he took over. We have let him down, particularly on Tuesday night.
"We were seven unbeaten previously, when we were perhaps not playing well. That is not a bad thing, when you are still unbeaten without playing at your best.
"But Tuesday was a kick in the teeth. We have to be better than that for ourselves; for the supporters who pay their money and for Chris, to give him a chance of securing the job first time."
In the meantime, Bishop says the least Notts owe their supporters is a hard-working display this afternoon.
"You have to have some personal pride. As long as you have had a right go at it, you can sleep at night, as long as you can say that you have given everything, that you deserve your wage," he said. "But Tuesday was one of those nights. It was the worst I have felt since I have been here. I have to be careful how far I go, but it was far from good enough."