I'm very proud of this group - Bobby Wilkinson interview

Ahead of tomorrow’s match against Welling United, we sat down with gaffer Bobby Wilkinson, where he talked about the upcoming match and the hard work of the people involved at the club.

Bobby, we managed to come away with a point at Havant and Waterlooville last Saturday. How crucial is it that we didn’t lose the game?

We were disappointed that we didn’t win, because as a group we want to win every game. But, after Tuesday we looked a little heavy-legged. So, we were pleased to take the point in the end. We didn’t lose to a Havant team who should be right up at the top because of their squad.

You’ve got to earn the right to win a game in this league. There’s been a lot more draws [in the league] this season than there has been for many many years, so that shows you just how competitive this league is.

Tom was of course back from his injury. What’s the importance of having him in the team, as both player and captain?

He’s a brilliant leader, warrior and player. I was really pleased to have him back in the squad. I love working with Tom, as I love working with all of the boys. They deserve a lot of credit for how hard they’re working.

Tomorrow we face Welling United who have a strong squad. However, we’re unbeaten at home in the league since early September. What should the opposition be expecting when facing us on Saturday?

That’s a great stat in itself, and one that the boys should be proud of. But, Welling are a good side and they’re full time. They’ve got a bigger budget than us.

But, guess what? We’ll be ready. We’ll be trying to play some entertaining football as we did [against Eastbourne Borough], because we’re at home now. As I say, don’t lose away and win at home. That would be great.

Welling are a dangerous side. Is there ever a good time to face a confident full-time unit?

There’s never a good time. You’ve just got to make sure you prepare right. As you said, we haven’t lost in the league at home since September, and it always ends up being fine margins. Sometimes you just need to sit back and analyse, but whilst remembering that we’re heading in the right direction.

Without giving too much away, what have the players been working on in training ahead of Saturday’s game?

We know their danger players, but we’ve mainly been focusing on ourselves. We’re just trying to keep winning our games whilst moving forward as a group.

We know we had a very good week. Four points for us in that week was brilliant, although it will mean even more if we can get another three points on the board on Saturday.

After speaking to Keelan on Wednesday, what stood out to me was just how tight this squad is. What does it mean to you to have a close and reliable group of players?

I’m very proud of this group. We’re trying to make this club as stable as possible on and off the pitch, and, as a football club, the players and management staff are working extremely hard. But, where we are now, we’re in a very good place.

Remember, we lost our two playmakers, but these boys have come in and worked their nuts off, because they all want to be a part of this journey to move us up the table.

What has been the key message to the players going into Saturday’s game?

Stay focused, enjoy your football, and let’s get the crowd on our side. They’ll be raring us on. Believe in yourselves and keep going. Can we make sure we only have one league defeat in eight games?

We’re on course for where we want to be. We’re still a long way off where we want to be, but I can see the improvement. It’s important to remember that this time last year we were on two points.

I would also like to give a special personal thanks to the fans for being a twelfth man, and the volunteers for all of their help.

Interview by
Jack Webb

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