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Bobby Wilkinson’s Pre-Match Thoughts

As The Stones prepare for tonight’s clash with our local rivals Hemel Hempstead, Sam Watts spoke to our manager.

Is Connor Stevens going to be back tonight?

“Connor is 70/30 available to play tonight, I will make a late call with that one”

Whether he thinks it’s more difficult playing a team with a new incentive..

“Hemel Hempstead are the in-form team at the moment, so we will have to start a lot quicker than we did on Saturday. We know they will be a challenge tonight. Credit to the manager, but the people there before were doing a great job too. But it’ll be a massive game tonight so we can stay in the mix, if they win they can go above us.

“Tonight, we have to go back into war, in a local derby away from home. Let’s see if we can go there and get something, but we go for 3 points.”

If Stones can go that one step further and get 3 points after 2 very good points in the last 2 matches…

“I won’t ever get greedy, all I want us to do is compete and when we are playing very well, like we did in the second half against Bath and against Welling, we fight until the last minute. We showed a few doubters that left the ground early, never leave with this team and that’s one thing we’ve brought in to the team this year, you have to keep fighting, even if we lose.”

How different teams are playing against Stones at present…

“I think Bath deserve a lot of credit in the first half, but a lot of teams are dropping off us now and letting us have the ball. It’s very difficult to keep the ball in the final third because you have to create space and teams are trying to stop us playing now. Credit to them, but credit to my team because we have such a good reputation now that we have to start adapting to try and win games in different ways.”

His take on Chris Regis’ full debut…

“He played well in spells, he’s just not fully match fit yet, we wanted to go with someone that was full of energy and come inside. You don’t want to play defensive football at home, so we went for it.

If the options out wide depend on the opposition…

“It does depend what game it is and how you are training. We tried to give him his debut, but we go with what we feel is right. Green normally plays for me but we didn’t feel he was right for Saturday. I made two substitutes at half time, one of which was Bubb, the main striker and brought on two flair players, then the third sub scored 2 goals, so I’m not worried about who is playing. We play the best team to win the game.”

Whether Elliot Charles has made him think twice about tonight’s team…

“You know you’ve got a good side when you have people of the bench and people not playing give you a headache. Elliot Charles has given me a headache, do I start him or do I not start him. We have been to watch Hemel last week and we have seen the DVDs, we just need to get it right. He’s 50/50 to start.

The players off the bench…

“I’m very proud of the team because the players who haven’t been playing like Danny [Green], came on and changed the game. We’ve got winners not sulkers. To do well in the league, all 16 men in the league have to be on their game. These boys deserve the credit as they never give up.”


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