We certainly don’t fear them - Bobby Wilkinson ahead of Chippenham Town

Commiserations following Saturday. I suppose, given the magnitude of these games, that a cup loss is always difficult to take.

Let’s not make excuses, it was a bad day at the office. We didn’t deserve to win and as a group we were disappointed.

It was another case of the opposition taking their chances more than us. Is it at least some consolation that we’re still creating chances for ourselves?

On that day I don’t think we created much. That was the main disappointment. I will always stay positive as a manager, but I accept that last Saturday wasn’t a great day for us.

Of course we had Joe Cook making his debut, a crucial addition. What’s the plan for him going forward?

Right now the main thing is just to get him match fit. That was his first game in a while, so it was great for him to get his fitness levels up, and this week he’s working hard to make himself available for Chippenham Town.

This is the third of a tough run of away fixtures. Being a manager, what sort of things do you do to keep up the squad spirits?

Most importantly we sit down and discuss what went wrong in the last game, but without dwelling on it so we can move onto the next match. We speak very openly and honestly about what could be done better. Although we accept that a bad day at the office will sometimes happen because this is a young group of players, we prefer to look at the positives so we can take them into the upcoming game.

Our squad has had a tough run with suspensions and injuries, but what I like is that there is always a player who comes in and knows what to do. Is this something that is worked on behind the scenes?

As a manager I always want to be a month in front, with injuries, players losing form or illnesses, especially with what’s happened around the world over the last few years.

We’ve signed Harry Parsons, a very good striker, with whom we worked hard to get to the club. He’s playing for us on Saturday and a lot of people will be very excited!

We’ve already played Chippenham this season and were only a penalty away from winning the game. Having already faced them this season, does this benefit us with knowing what we’re up against?

They’re on a great run and tough to beat and home, although we’re going there ourselves in good form, apart from last weekend. We were training on Tuesday night and we’re back on Thursday, where we’re working to get back to form for Saturday.

Ant spoke to me about how the “bouncing home atmosphere” makes a huge difference. With Chippenham being another away match, is this a challenge the lads need to be prepared for?

Going to a place like Chippenham is always a challenge. We lost 3-2 in the 90th minute there last year. It’s a difficult ground to go to, but I want my players to enjoy being the underdog. We certainly don’t fear them; we want to go there and see how we get on.

As always, what has been the message going into Saturday’s game?

Stay focused, organised and professional. Keep shape. Let’s go to Chippenham and beat them!

Interview by
Jack Webb

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