Ahead of tomorrow’s game away to Havant & Waterlooville, we spoke to manager Bobby Wilkinson about Tuesday’s match against Yeovil, keeping “shape” against tomorrow’s opponents and building for the future.
Bobby, commiserations following Tuesday night. Our first league loss in six. It just wasn’t meant to be. How are the lads feeling?
We’ve moved on from that game already. We’re sorry we didn’t get the win, but it was a good experience. The lads are feeling positive and they’re preparing for Havant and Waterlooville.
How important is it that we don’t lose sight of what we were doing well in the first place?
We’ll make sure that we don’t. We have to concentrate on the next game now, and that next game is important. There’s three points up for grabs, so let’s see if we can go there, attack them and pick up some points.
A fair few opportunities came from our crossing threat last game. Is this something that has been worked on?
We were working on it a lot yesterday. We were working on moving the ball short and sharp, and getting it out wide to put the balls in the box.
I thought we played some very good attacking football in the second half [against Yeovil] and last Saturday, so we want to keep the momentum going.
How crucial is it that we get the best out of our wing play?
It’s crucial that we get the ball in the box every time we have an opportunity, and play with lots of energy and desire. Let’s just keep enjoying our football as well.
Calvin was of course captain on Tuesday. What’s the significance of having multiple leaders in the dressing room who can be called upon when needed?
It’s very important to have leaders around the group because we are a young side that are learning. [Tuesday] was the first time some of them played in that sort of calibre of game.
When you look at their squad and our squad, some of them were League Two players; we’re building for the future, as you can see.
We move onto Havant & Waterlooville, who have been struggling as of late. In a way, is it more challenging to face the struggling teams as they will be so desperate to put it right?
This is another challenge. I went to watch them on Wednesday night [against Aveley]. I was very impressed with how they played in the first 25 minutes. On paper they have a hell of a squad and a tight unit of experienced players.
But, it’s just not going for them at the moment. When they conceded to make it 1-1, I saw a different side, so we’ve got to take advantage of that. We’ve got to go and attack and make sure we come away with something.
Havant have conceded their fair share of goals as of late. As a manager, what messages do you drill into your players, so they don’t take their foot off the gas when they’re facing a leaky defence?
We never take our foot off the gas. I’ve been very impressed with our boys. We’re against a side tomorrow that are low on confidence, but on paper are a very good team.
They’re a full-time outfit. Anything could happen on the day, so we need to make sure we turn up.
We’ve worked on the tactical side for tomorrow, so our game plan is set. Let’s go and compete!
Havant, despite their form, have proven dangerous going forward this season. What do the players need to do to make sure they prepare right and don’t concede?
Out of possession we’ve got to make sure we keep our shape. You can’t win a game in the first 15 minutes, but you can certainly lose it, so we have to make sure we stick to our game plan and frustrate them.
We will be going there with confidence from how we’ve played in our last six games, but we know going into their back yard will still be difficult.
Tomorrow we will be playing on a 3G pitch compared to a regular pitch on Tuesday. Are these mini-adjustments small challenges that fans perhaps don’t realise?
They can be challenging, but not for us. We train and play very well on 3G. Managers can say it’s challenging if their players haven’t trained or played on 3G at all.
It’s still 11 against 11. They just have the advantage because they’re at home.
What would be brilliant is if we got 6 points in a week and moved up the table a few more spots.
What has been the overall message to the players in training this week going into tomorrow’s game?
The message was: Let’s keep up our desire and enjoy our games of football. Let’s remember where we were a year ago to where we are now.
We played in front of [nearly] 6,500 people and we played extremely well, when we could have been playing in front of about 100 people in a league below.
So, enjoy these moments, keep building, keep working hard and believe that you can win every single game.
They’re a great bunch of lads to work for, and we’re going to continue to work hard, week in week out, every single day.