Brian Stock catches up with Amberley Silk and talks settling into management, the squad and what the Terras are expecting for the upcoming season.
Amberley Silk (AS): Hi Brian, I feel as though you have made a brilliant impact on the team, with only a few games under your belt, the teams performance has been second to none. They are showing great attitude and mentality. How do you feel you have settled into management well?
Brian Stock (BS): Very comfortably. When I took the job, I was expecting to be a bit more nervous, but it has come naturally. I have a lot of good people around me, both the staff and club have been very welcoming. I’ve inherited such a good group of players. Mark Molesley has done a good job previously; he’s left behind a healthy team and we’ve added a few players to that. The players that were already there have shown a good attitude in training and games. It’s been good to experiment, and for me, instruction is key. The players have listened to instructions and taken them on board, which has been first class.
AS: You’ve just mentioned new players in the squad, how have these signings slotted in? Are there anymore new signings on the horizon?
BS: They have all fitted in to the group very well. Brennan is familiar with the group from last season, we are delighted to secure his services for this season. I have been impressed with Jack Bycroft and Sam Pearson; they have all made an instant impact. All 3 players are exciting prospects for the future and I’m grateful for their parent clubs to trust us with their up and coming talent. In regard to new signings, we are keeping close tabs on a couple of players, but our business will be done in a confidential and professional manner.
AS: Unfortunately, the Government’s announcement yesterday doesn’t look good for the start of the season. If the season is postponed, how will you be looking to keep the momentum of the team going?
BS: It would be catastrophic if the season was to be postponed and I hope that they would look at a more sensible approach whilst taking into consideration, everyone’s health and safety. I took training with the boys yesterday and my message to them was to keep going and keep focused on the first game of the season because at the moment that is still going ahead. There is massive uncertainty around that and there is a high chance that it might be cancelled but we have to be professional with how we approach things. When we look at the first game of the season and the preparations we’ve done previously, that doesn’t change from our point of view. At the training session yesterday, the lads showed that their attitude towards the game is first class.
AS: As mentioned in interviews by players, the competition for the starting 11 is very fierce. With Ebbsfleet being the final game before the season is supposedly starting, are you treating this as a chance for the players to showcase their abilities and earn a spot in the squad, or is this a dress rehearsal ahead of the scheduled game against Altrincham?
BS: I keep challenging myself with this theory before every game. When you look at the volume and quality of the squad, you very rarely have this. Even when I look back at my playing days as a professional, you normally have a strong 13, 14 or maybe 15, and you have a few that can come in and help get the job done. Even when I was leaving the training ground yesterday, I was second guessing what I think is the right thing to do.
When I look back at the Slough game, I said to them, the first half you have to fight for your place on the squad. I think the competition is great, the only downside is, when you announce the squad, the players that aren’t in it will have to be in stands and they might even have to travel and not play. But they are the sacrifice’s individuals have to make for the team to be successful. When we look at how we have prepared, and how quickly we had to prepare, given the appointment of myself, we did look at this game as a potential marker for playing our strongest squad, but again it still remains to be determined. I’ll be talking to management and make sure that everyone is on the same page.
AS: Altrincham away is a huge game to kick off the start of the season, whether that be next week or in the near future. There are many parallels between the Mancunian side and Weymouth, 2 promotions in 3 years have seen them into the National League. How were you looking to prepare your side for a tough game against a team driven by the same success as yourselves?
BS: At the end of the day, the first game of the season is always going to be tough, no matter what team you play. No one wants to give anything away and everyone wants to get points on the board to start with. We’ll go into the game with confidence after a good pre-season. The lads are fit, they’ve not had much of a summer. With the play offs, they had a two week break and then were back in, so their fitness is at its peak. We’re still topping that up leading into the season and will continue to do so throughout the season, which I think is vital as we’re a part-time team. We’ve got nothing to fear, we will go into any game concentrated on what we can achieve, work on one or two of the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses, regardless of who they are.