Ahead of tomorrow’s match against Eastbourne Borough, we spoke to gaffer Bobby Wilkinson, where he discussed the club’s unbeaten league run, the club’s preparation this week, and “fine margins” within games.
Bobby, great to fight back and get a point. How important was it for the players to display that ‘never say die attitude’ and equalise in the second half?
My boys have got that attitude. I’m proud of the way they are working hard and trying to do well for this football club. They never let me down.
It’s not quite eight out of 12, but it is FOUR league games unbeaten. This marks a change from previous results, particularly last season. How crucial is it that these players are finding a decent level of consistency?
What is crucial in this league is that you pick up points when you can. Six out of 12 is fantastic when you remember that it’s still a brand new squad that we’re trying to build.
We’re very, very pleased.
Tonbridge obviously had a player sent off in the second half. As a manager, how regularly do you try and instil a high level of discipline into your players so they avoid making the same mistakes?
Discipline is key, but this year it’s been crazy out there. Players are picking up bookings and sendings off for no reason. But, we can’t dwell on it. We just have to keep moving forward and ride the storm.
Eastbourne have conceded their fair share of goals as of late. We know that this means little on matchday, but could this be a sign that an attacking threat could make the difference?
No, Eastbourne are a very good side. They’ve signed some excellent players in the last week or two. They’re building a good squad and they’ve got a very big budget, so we’re up against it again. But, they’re our next opponents and that’s what we’re looking forward to.
In terms of goalscoring, there’s not much to separate either teams. With that in mind, how does a manager instruct their players when games are tight?
I say when you get opportunities you have got to take them. As you saw we hit the post twice [last] weekend. Score from those, we win the game. It’s about the fine margins and making sure we’re on the end of those chances.
Everyone can beat everyone this year, but it’s about those fine margins.
Eastbourne’s away form has also been out of sorts lately. Are there other factors, alongside this, that could be key to getting the three points?
What’s key at the moment is that the home support stays loud and proud. One thing we’ve noticed is, at this football club, when everyone is together we’re unstoppable.
We have to stay together and keep believing in each other, and keep backing the boys no matter what, because they’re a great bunch of lads who are working extremely hard.
Last time we faced Eastbourne we were in the middle of our quest for survival. Our form has been more stable since. What can Eastbourne expect this time round?
Look, they’re a new team and we’re a new team. We have to believe we can beat Eastbourne. It’s the next game and it’s a good challenge, one that we look forward to and are excited about. All the boys are ready and everyone has worked extremely hard this week to prepare for the game. Let’s see if we can get three points.
That would be nine points out of 15, remarkable.
Last week it was obviously a shame to have Gerard and Ezio out. How did you manage having such important players absent from the team?
Well last week was a tough challenge for us. To lose your goalkeeper and centre forward overnight was just crazy. They were my main players. But you have to live by the sword and die by the sword, whatever is thrown at you.
Last week I was so proud of that point. I took a gamble throwing [Smalley] in, but god didn’t he do us proud?
He deserves all the accolades. The way he grew into the game was just brilliant.
Interview by Jack Webb