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  • Writer's pictureDec O'Reilly

Bobby Wilkinson's Pre-Match Thoughts

Ahead of Wealdstone’s next fixture against Hampton & Richmond Borough on Saturday, Dec O’Reilly spoke to Bobby Wilkinson to gather the manager’s thoughts before the Stones’ trip to Beveree Stadium.

Jake Sheppard update…

“He [Jake Sheppard] had a slight hamstring issue last Saturday [against East Thurrock]. We think he is going to be ok to train [this week] but he will still be 60/40 to play on Saturday [at Hampton]. It is still very tender [and] sore but it is looking positive.

“The best thing we did was take him off straight away last Saturday otherwise he could have been out for the rest of the season, we were thinking long-term in that regard, so we did not give him a chance to play for even another 10 minutes.”

On Connor Stevens…

“Connor Stevens is good, he’s training with us tomorrow [Thursday night]. We will assess him after tomorrow, he is currently looking like he may be available for the squad on Saturday.”

On Hampton & Richmond and not underestimating them after their last result…

“It’s another game for us, it doesn’t matter who is in front of us. We will do our preparation to the best of our abilities, but I’m not focused on what they have done, we focus on ourselves.

“We will do our homework that we have to do, we have our little game plan that we will sort out to go there and win a game of football. A good football club, a great team but I don’t really want to talk about Hampton.”

Focusing on ourselves and the last four…

“Every game is a big game now, we have to turn up and give 110% as we always try and do. I was happy how we managed the game last Saturday [against East Thurrock] as well as the three goals but I think I was a bit harsh on the boys’ performance at half-time and full-time after watching the game back.

“I thought we looked a bit sluggish and lacked something at the time, but I think I was a little bit wrong because when I looked at the way they managed the game, sometimes at spells the way we kept the ball was unbelievable. We have high standards at this football club so we still want better but overall, the boys did a brilliant job on the weekend.”

On individual standouts from last Saturday…

“Looking back on individual performances like Godders [Godfrey Poku], he was dynamite in midfield and absolutely out of this world last weekend. I was a bit frustrated for poor Pratty [David Pratt] because he was feeding off scrapes all game but looking back again, he worked his absolute socks off.

"What a credit he [David Pratt] worked for the team, not just himself. Danny Green’s work rate off the ball and the way he balanced the team well was really good to see as well. [Danny] Green was man of the match and rightly so, Green’s goals were outstanding.

“It was another clean sheet [in the last game], we all manage and play for clean sheets because keeping a clean sheet will give you a chance to win. We’re going to have to go to Hampton this weekend and be solid, hopefully we can go there and get something against a very good side who come off a great win against Billericay.”

On picking up critical points…

“What has been very good is we picked up back-to-back wins at home which is crucial for our run-in, crucial for this football club and crucial for these boys. That is something that is very nice getting back-to-back home wins when our home form hasn’t been the best. That is another positive for these boys as well.”

On being creative…

“Teams now are sitting off us, we are creating lots of chances, but teams are not giving us much room in-behind. We need to make sure our class players are on the ball like your [Danny] Green’s, Godders [Godfrey Poku], Simon [Mensah], T [Tarryn Allarakhia] out on the left, Jeff Monakana who set-up a wonderful pass over the back four for our second goal last week.

“We need movement and creativity because teams are playing deeper and know we will utilise the channels so we’ve had to adapt to that, that itself has been a challenge and it’s been enjoyable but I feel for people like Pratty [David Pratt] because late-on in the season he has had to adapt his game but he’s handled it well.”

Hungriness of players…

“I was really pleased with Stefan Brown last Saturday because he came on and changed the game a little bit himself. He was very disappointed not to start but he handled that exactly how I expect him to handle it. He came on with 15 minutes to go to go and claim a place in the starting line-up this week so what I have done with those two [Stefan Brown and David Pratt] is when they don’t together, I made them hungry so who will play.

“Jeff Monakana has provided another headache now because he wants to play every week, so everyone has to be on their toes otherwise you won’t train well which means you won’t be in the team. The standards haven’t dropped, they’ve got higher, everyone has to stay focused and earn the right to play on a Saturday. It’s obvious that if you train well you play well so that is going to be important to keep our momentum going.”

On being in a play-off spot…

“I do not care where we are today. I have made that very clear to my players this week, do not even look where we are. For us it’s all about where we are in four games time because I would love to finish it off with the way it’s been most of the season, it’s been an unbelievable season. These boys deserve all the credit for all their hard work and dedication, I just want them to get rewarded.

“To get rewarded you’ve got to go out and earn it, when everyone else is just prodding along you have to work harder, be ruthless and remember they [Hampton] are our enemy on Saturday. They are another team in our way but when they go toe-to-toe with us we have to make sure we stand up and be counted.”


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