We speak to Bobby Wilkinson ahead of Weston-super-Mare

What a win that was. How important was it to end 2023 with a win?

It was a special day for the players. It was a great performance and, most importantly, a team performance. A great day for the club on and off the park.

Harry scored again. He’s said himself how much he already loves playing at the club.  What does it mean to have a player like him to settle in so quickly?

Well, I knew how special Harry was and that’s why I tried to sign him last summer. He’s a great lad. He enjoys playing football and he’s very good technically. He’s only with us for 28 days, but he’s been a credit to the club from the moment he came in.

But, we don’t like to talk about individuals too much. Our last two games were a great five days for the group. Yes, we didn’t beat Dover, but it’s still four points in two games.

Ever since the Hendon game, we’ve created a lot of chances every game. Is this a case of everything clicking on the pitch?

No. It’s a case of sitting down and analysing how we could be better and climb up the league table. I sat down with the club and asked for help, which I don’t usually do as they’ve been so brilliant to me. I told them I needed a couple of forwards and they backed me.

Over the last few games I’ve noticed that we run and create right up to the final whistle. Is this something that’s been worked on in training?

That’s a Bobby Wilkinson team, fighting for 90 minutes. I like my teams to play with passion and desire. But, recently in training, we’ve been working on chance creation. It’s been really enjoyable to see us create more on the pitch, but you’ve got to have the talent to be able to do that. I’m grateful that we have a good squad.

Having someone like Brandon Goodship who has listened to me all season makes me proud. He’s back to his best, and that’s down to both us communicating on and off the pitch. Now everyone’s talking about his performances.

We’re facing Weston-Super-Mare again soon after the last game. What’s the mood of the squad going into the next game?

The mood of the squad in training is brilliant. We’re fresh and we’ve recovered well. But, we’re in for a really tough challenge again. Weston were a fantastic side. On the ball they were really dangerous.

We know how Weston play, but is there anything about them that we still need to be mindful of?

Their great talent. The biggest difference between us and them is that their squad has been together for a few years. They won the league together and are a tight unit. It was always going to be tough facing them as they know their jobs inside and out. But, hopefully in the future we’ll be like this.

Brandon said that a win on New Year’s Day would give the fans something to cheer about. Is the idea of starting 2024 with a win something that has been talked about?

I’ve been asked this, but I don’t think that way. I’d like to start the year with a good performance. People will look at the final result at 5.30pm, but as a manager you can’t think like that. What I’d like to do is go home after the game knowing we played better than in the previous match.

We don’t need to put pressure on these players, but we have to perform well. When we don’t, that’s when we get frustrated. With Dover, for example, we were frustrated that we didn’t win, but we still created loads of chances. On any other day, we would have won that game.

As always, what has been the key message going into the next game?

Stay more focused than ever. Being at home doesn’t give us the advantage. Stay disciplined, as we have in the last few games.

I’d also like to give a message from the players and the coaching staff to the fans. Thank you so much for your support. We are still in the National League South because of our togetherness, and long may that continue.

Interview by
Jack Webb

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