We've got to turn up as Weymouth football club and make the fans proud

Speaking ahead of today’s huge clash, manager Bobby Wilkinson gave us his thoughts on the importance of this game, what it means to the fans and taking “pressure” off his players.

Bobby, great to get the three points on Saturday. How great was it that we not only won, but won creating lots of chances?

I’m really proud. It was one of those days where everything we worked on and spoke about came off on the game day.

We’ve made it NINE points out of 15, which is objectively a good run of form. We’ve spoken about the importance of consistency a lot – how satisfying is it to see the squad starting to gel together on the pitch?

When you’re fighting hard every week, you know it’s not going to be pretty. But, as long as you’re competing and you’re building something, you’ve got a chance.

You said after Saturday’s game that your aim has been trying to take the pressure off the players. When going into games, how important is staying calm when it comes to defeating the opposition?

It was something we spoke about in quite great depth last week. The boys are doing something right, but it’s important as a manager that you take the pressure off people, so I try to do that.

We trained hard [last] week, but we had a lot of fun doing that as well.

Derby Day is approaching – how has the mood amongst the squad been?

This is a local derby, and we know how important it is to the fans, but it’s important to us as well. We just have to make sure that we work extremely hard on tactics and be aware of the opposition. That’s a must.

For many supporters this is the game above all others that must be won. How important is it to the squad to be able to get that win for the fans?

I never think of a game as one that has to be won, but we will certainly be trying. We’re going into their backyard on a Tuesday night. Everyone knows that’s going to be difficult, but it’s one that we’re looking forward to, and one where we’re going to go out and compete.

In what way has your approach to a derby game changed as a manager compared to your playing days?

I played in some big derbies over the years, but I have to say this is one of the biggest ones, because I know how passionate it is to our fans. I know how much they want to win this game. They’re travelling in their numbers.

Since your time at Weymouth, has the idea of “beating Yeovil” been a key message from within the club?

I’ve never really thought about it until we played them, as that’s the right thing to do as a manager, but I’ve heard many many people say about how we’ve got to beat Yeovil. Yeovil will be saying the same, that they’ve got to beat us. They are a full-time unit, but we’ve got to turn up as Weymouth Football Club and make our fans proud.

In games as tense as this it can be the case with other teams that tactics and discipline go out the window. As a manager, in what way do you instruct your players to keep their heads?

When we go in there, no pressure is on us. The pressure is on them 100 per cent. We will go in their backyard to try and beat them. We’ve got to stay classy, but we’ve got a battle and we’ve got to rough it up a little bit.

We’ve made it very clear to our players what a big game this is, but we’ve always got to remember that it’s the next game. It won’t define our season, but it will certainly make the fans happy.

Interview by
Jack Webb

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