We catch up with Bobby Wilkinson ahead of Dover Athletic

As we discussed, what a point at Chippenham. You must have been delighted with our performance.

I was more delighted with the response from the boys after a not-so nice weekend at Hendon. The character and desire they showed was an absolute masterclass.

With our excellent second-half performance on Saturday, how much momentum will that give to kick on for the rest of the season?

It was a great point because it was at Chippenham, so we’ll take that. Of course we wanted to leave more points, but that was the only disappointment that day.

We move onto Dover, having already faced them twice this season. We know what they offer. What do the lads need to be wary of on Saturday?

What we have to do is make sure we continue the momentum from Chippenham. We trained late on Monday to make sure that we recovered. Don’t forget, this weekend is a big game. We’re facing a team who are bottom of the league, and over the last year these have always been the trickier games. But, our new signings have given us all a boost, so it’s a match we’re looking forward to.

This is our third time facing Dover this season. The second one ended in dramatic fashion, but I assume that you’re hoping for a more controlled game from the players this time round.

This will be a much more controlled game. It’s different in cup matches, where I set my teams up in a more open way. It will be nervous at times, but we hope to perform the way we did at Chippenham all game. We just need to manage the game well and control it in the right manner. But, to be honest, I just want three points!

After a series of tough away fixtures, how good does it feel to finally have our next opponents playing on our turf?

We’re really looking forward to playing back at home in front of a good crowd. We really appreciate the support, and we know how much of a boost it can give us on Saturday.

This year has been a tough challenge for all of the coaching staff. With Christmas around the corner, how do you usually relax as a manager?

I don’t like to relax too much, but I will if we win on Saturday. That way, I get to enjoy Christmas with my family. But, we are at Weston-Super-Mare on Boxing Day so we’ll be preparing hard for that. It’s a demanding league so there’s not a lot of time to switch off.

Christmas is all about the idea of togetherness, which you’ve always said is a big thing that will help the squad going forward. With this in mind, how is the spirit within the squad at this time?

Training on Monday night was really fun. Our new signings have definitely given a positive boost around the place. I knew that we needed these players, and I worked hard to get them in. I have to thank Paul Maitland and the board for their backing for the players that I needed. As a collective
we’re supporting each other on and off the pitch. The club works together.

We’ve had some bad luck with injuries and suspensions recently. How are the
absentees getting on?

Ben Thomson is maybe out for another week or two, so that’s been a big loss. Calvin is still suspended, but we’ve luckily got Jordon back and he was brilliant last weekend. As I’ve said before, it’s always important to plan a month ahead, and our new signings have been vital toward giving us strength in depth. Our next challenge is to get some wins under our belt. Last week was our 10th 1-1 draw this season, and if you change a few of
those results into wins, we’re in and around the play-offs.

It’s easier said than done to do that, but that just shows how fine margins are. There’s no one who hates being down the bottom of the table more than us, but we are heading in the right direction.

So it’s all about exploiting those fine margins within games?

Exactly. They’re the difference between play-offs and mid-table. We have a young squad, so it will be tough. But, for us it’s all about turning our bad luck in games into good luck.

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

On and off the field, staff, fans, players and volunteers stick together. Keep believing in the process

Interview by
Jack Webb

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