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  • Writer's pictureDec O'Reilly

Bobby Wilkinson's Pre-Match Thoughts

Updated: Apr 26, 2019

Ahead of Wealdstone’s final fixture against Hemel Hempstead at Grosvenor Vale on Saturday, Dec O’Reilly spoke to Bobby Wilkinson to gather the manager’s thoughts before the final game of the season.

Full squad update…

“Freddie [Grant] is struggling with his ankle, it will be 50/50 if he is available [for Saturday]. It was from a knock he suffered on Monday [against Chelmsford] which has now swollen.

“Everyone else has come through with flying colours, training has gone well and we’ll be preparing more tomorrow [Thursday].”

On having something to play for in the last game of the season…

“Biggest achievement these boys have earned this year. They’ve done a lot by the way they’ve performed for most of this season, they’ve taken it to the last game. They deserve a lot of praise for that because it’s not happened many times and I’m so proud of them.”

On needing to do what we have to do…

“Let’s not beat around the bush, we need a bit of luck [in other games] but the way that the season has gone with upsets you never know. The first thing that we need to do is to win our own game at home. All we are preparing for is to win our game and what will be will be on the day.

“Can we win this game and see what happens because everyone might win their game and nothing changes, but everyone could lose their game and then how would you feel if you could have won and could have made it but didn’t.

“It is going to be nerve-racking at times but it is going to be enjoyable this one, we are very fortunate to have this chance this weekend but this is what football and this league does. You have to grab it with two hands while you still have the chance. There are four teams that can still get in there which is a credit to the league, out of everything I’m not worried about anyone else.”

On Hemel Hempstead…

“It’s a local derby. When I took over everyone was talking about this local derby and they always are derbies. They’ve got a good manager [Joe Deeney], I know they are in a bit of a bad spell at the moment but they’re going to try and spoil the party.

“We want to finish on a high anyway and win our last home game with another win under our belt. It’s going to be a tough game, we’ve played three teams that have had no pressure while we’ve had pressure and they’ve been tough to get over.

“We’ve learnt a lot from that and all I’ve asked the boys to do is play how they did on Monday [against Chelmsford]. The game on Monday was a pressure game for us because we still believed we needed three or four goals and a clean sheet to give ourselves a chance, the boys done that.”

On using management experience to handle pressure and perform…

“Just stay cool, stay calm and keep everything basic while still doing what you’re doing. Let them [the players] know that you’ve got to keep believing and believe results will go our way. My job now is to keep them calm, keep them focused on winning a game of football and keep everyone believing.”

On the supporters backing the players…

“They always back the boys but we’re going to need a different atmosphere. Our place [Grosvenor Vale] can be a fortress but it’s going to have to be a fortress. We all have to stick together, always back us no matter what because football changes overnight and that’s been proven.

“Everyone deserves to celebrate no matter what [happens] on the day because we’re coming to a game of football with something to play for which is a massive achievement in itself. Jamie Leacock and I were saying that we took over a team that weren’t our players a year ago and we still made the last four of the [FA] Trophy.”

On our overall season…

“We analysed this season and we have the third best away record in the league, we have something to play for in the final game of the season. When we look back on what we’ve achieved so far at this football club, we are very proud people and we’ve had some brilliant days out.

“You have to go through the smooth and the rough, we understand that and we’ve looked at everything the last few weeks. We want to keep building and going forward, we’re very proud of our time here, we know what we’ve achieved at this football club and it’s been a good two years.

“In my world, myself speaking, I’m only truly happen when I actually win things like a trophy or a promotion but sometimes you have to sit back and analyse if we’ve had a good two seasons and yes we have.

“There are a thousand clubs out there that would jump at the chance to be where we are and they’ll be a thousand people that would have taken this position at the start of the season, I just wish it was in our own hands. If not, we’re going to need a little bit of luck but football is all about luck. What happened in the two games [Hampton & Richmond and Dulwich Hamlet] hurt us but we bounce back.”


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