Ahead of tomorrow’s match against Dover Athletic, we sat down with the manager, where he discussed tomorrow’s game and the importance of togetherness within a squad.
This is our third time facing Dover this year. After facing the same team a certain number of times, does that fixture ever get any easier?
No game is easy. It’s going to be a tough place to go to, but we’ve had great success there. We’ve enjoyed it every time we’ve played there. Let’s go and see if we can do another job over them.
Of course our most memorable recent match there was our great escape. What are your memories from that game?
I have brilliant memories of that place. For me personally, it was my best memory in football. Although it’s something we need to move on from now and instead concentrate on the next game.
Of course that victory kept us in the National League South. Since then we have been climbing further up the table. What did that victory mean for the club going forward?
It just means that we can keep competing in this league against these brilliant clubs. We’re trying to climb a mountain, and it’s going to be a long obstacle course whilst climbing this mountain. But, the trick is to keep climbing and building for success.
Recently I’ve noticed the group defending together as a unit much more. Is this level of teamwork something you’ve noticed or drilled into the players?
Well, togetherness is key as it brings you success. If someone wasn’t on the same wavelength, they wouldn’t be here. We’re learning more and more about each other every week, and that performance last Saturday just showed it. There’s a reason we haven’t lost for two and a half months on a Saturday in the league. They will have their off days, but it’s about how you adapt for the next game.
Out of the lads I’ve interviewed, they’ve spoken about the management and coaching staff as a big reason why they joined the club. In your view, what key things does a manager need to do to get the players on their side?
It’s just a respect thing. I will always be open and honest, no matter what the situation is. I’m also a manager who believes that positivity brings success, and these players see that. I’ve been fortunate to work with some fantastic players over the years, and I’m very fortunate to have had players travel a long way to come and play for me. These players haven’t come to this club just to make up the numbers. They want to build for the future, and that’s what we’re trying to do here.
However, the biggest thing for me is trusting the process. Last year, the process involved staying in the league, and we trusted that process to start building towards being at the top end of the table. We knew this wasn’t going to be easy, so I can’t thank them enough, along with the staff, for the hard work they’ve done.
So it’s all about getting the right players together who have the right mentality to help build for that success?
We’ve got a great bunch of lads. These players give their all. We go for a certain calibre of player, but what’s also been noticeable is that they’ve come to play for the manager. I think that’s where success comes. We’ve all built a bond. The players all know each other.
We knew this wasn’t going to be easy.
As always, what has been the key message going into this game?
Togetherness brings success, and keep doing what you’re doing, but get on with it quietly. That’s a big thing for me.