• Wealdstone FC

Bobby Wilkinson Pre-Match Thoughts

The FA Trophy kicks off this Saturday for Stones who begin in the 3rd Qualifying Round. Ahead of travelling away to Concord Rangers, Sam Watts spoke to Bobby Wilkinson to get his thoughts…

His take on this weekend’s match…

“It’s a very difficult game. They’ve had 10 games at home and won 8, drawn 1 and lost 1. As it’s a tricky place to go, I’ve had a chat with the boys and challenged them to see if we can beat them and go one further. It’s a competition that they love, I love it and I know the fans do. We know it’s going to be as difficult as last Saturday.”

Bobby was asked if it is frustrating to get a tricky tie away from home in the first match…

“You have to be realistic, it can be frustrating but we have a group of lads that believe they can go and win there and my mentality is the same. We can beat anyone on our day. Of course, it’s a little frustrating but you have to believe we can win there.”

What his target was for the FA Trophy before the season started…

“Win it. People laugh at me but you have to believe that. Everyone said we won’t beat Billericay at Billericay but we did and I’m a manager that thrives on success. You can’t win every game, I understand that, but I believe in the boys and everyone around me. We will go there and have a good go.”

Concord Rangers drew 1-1 when they came to The Vale earlier in the season. Bobby said it’s irrelevant to this week…

“I don’t look back. It’s about right now. They are really in form at the moment and are flying this year, the same as us. They lost last week, same as us, so they will want to respond too. Let’s go there, enjoy the day and if we can’t beat them, at least bring them back, but we go to win. We will be training hard to be ready.”

The game is very unpredictable. Given that they have a home advantage, is there a focus on stopping them getting into a rhythm and preventing their assets from performing?

“We always have a game-plan. You have to do your homework on the opposition to find out their strengths and weaknesses. We have worked this week as hard as every other week, but win, lose or draw you have to work hard. Leave no stone unturned and as soon as my boys cross the white line, believe they can win like they have all this year and see what happens.”

A few words on new signing Christian Smith…

“I am very happy with my squad. We have had to tinker a few things as the board have asked me to. However, Christian Smith was a free agent and came for success. Nothing else. It was a fantastic situation having been chasing him for 7 months – I wanted to sign him in the summer. I loved the way he conducted himself and told me it was all about getting a successful season under his belt, we’ve brought in an experienced player that can help the squad on and off the pitch. He wanted to come to this football club to try and help us to be successful.”

Elliot Charles being close to a start and the competition across the squad…

“He isn’t far off a start and he deserved a start. He’s been doing very well coming off the bench for us. I’ve got three forwards now, three centre backs that are fighting for two, I have three centre forwards that are fighting for two – I have the competitiveness back. Elliot Charles makes the other two hungry. With Christian [Smith] coming in, it makes Simon [Mensah] hungrier and Godfrey [Poku] hungrier. I’m balancing it back out to the fight and determination to play for their places.”

On finding the right balance…

“This group of players have got us in the top seven all season, therefore I can’t make wholesale changes. I’m trying to get the balance right but have had to rotate the squad which I’m not a fan of doing. I like to be a settled side. I don’t want to keep making changes but I’ve been forced to make changes with injuries.

“We brought in a couple of players but we’ve played 17 or 18 games and for 12 of them never changed until the injuries started. We are trying a couple of changes here and there, but are trying to find a settled side for the different stages of the season. This week I have tried to find a balance.”


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