Cribbin much happier as jigsaw pieces come together in Westmeath
Tom Cribbin has held the "getting to know you" phase responsible for Westmeath's poor League form, which led to their relegation from Division 2.
They looked a completely different outfit when hitting Louth for 3-14 in the first round of the Leinster championship last month and are now firm favourites to book a semi-final place for the first time since 2010 when they play Wexford in Cusack Park on Sunday.
"I've got to know the players and they've got to know me. I wasn't appointed until November so I had no chance to see them in club games before going straight into the League, where every game was tough.
"It took a while to figure out the best positions for various lads and that led to frustrations for them and me when results weren't going our way.
"You could see the quality in them so it was a question of working out how best to place them.
"We're getting there now and it's beginning to show. The lads are far happier and things are going much better," said Cribbin.
Last Sunday week provided his first opportunity to watch some serious club activity and it proved fruitful, with no fewer than six players being added to the county squad afterwards.
"It strengthens the squad and adds to the pressure for places. We're still coming together as a unit but we'll get there. There was never a doubt about the quality of the players - it was just a question of getting them in the right positions so that they could play to their maximum," he said.
Wexford were relegated from Division 3 alongside Louth, which suggests that Westmeath will be too good for them.
However, Cribbin warns that those type of comparisons are not valid.
"Wexford have a very good record in the Leinster championship. The League is gone and doesn't matter any more. We've got to make sure that we get everything right with our own game," he said.
Wexford have reached the last four Leinster semi-finals.