Bobby Wilkinson's Pre-Match Thoughts
The Stones return to league action this weekend as we welcome Eastbourne Borough to The Vale. Here are Bobby Wilkinson’s views ahead of the game…
On that great result away at Concord in the FA Trophy
“The team can definitely produce that kind of performance on their day. We know that if we pass the ball around like we do we are a very good team. Non-League football is about consistency and that’s the key at the moment – pick up the points when you can and win your cup games when you can.”
Whether it’s all about consistency?
“We’ve been consistent all year but it’s very difficult to win every game. Consistency is over five or six games it’s not just one game. It’s making sure you keep picking up points and staying in the mix and we’ve been in the top seven all year. The job is to be around the play offs, that’s consistency.”
If the plan is to stay around the play offs until the final stages before getting in alongside everyone else?
“That’s what we would like it to be. Giving yourself a chance. I’m not saying we will make the play offs or not make the play offs. I’m asking my boys to be consistent all year and could we give ourselves a chance, that’s all. I don’t get carried away. In my last couple of promotions, we haven’t been in the play offs until the last ten games, and then we go in. That’s what I’m talking about in terms of consistency.”
If it matters that Eastbourne have lost their last 4 league games
“It doesn’t change anything. Everyone wants to beat Wealdstone don’t they? We are a big club and we have the best supporters, have good crowds. We are trying to keep our momentum by playing good football and doing the best we can. Eastbourne have just gone to Dartford and had a fantastic game, beating them 3-2. They are coming full of confidence.”
You played Jerome Okimo at left back on Saturday, did he impress you there and does this suit the team with Glenn Wilson and Connor Stevens allowed to sit in the middle?
“In the first 12 games, we got into the top 5 with two centre halves, it didn’t change. We will chop and change what we feel is right for the opposition, some weeks it works and others it doesn’t. Jerome [Okimo] impresses me wherever he plays, he is an unbelievable professional. He is the most consistent player we’ve had since I’ve been here in day one. He is an unsung hero and every single week he hits 8/10 without a doubt. I’m just glad I can manage such a wonderful player and that he’s my captain. He deserves all the praise he gets."
The current situation with Fumnaya Shomotun’s loan contract…
“Fumnaya is not playing this Saturday. He has one week left on his loan deal.”
He added some further team news regarding an Under 18 player...
“Young Femi is coming into the squad this weekend. He is 17 and has been fantastic and is training with us tonight and he will be in the squad on Saturday.”
Stones have only had 2 home games in their last 8, do you feel it gives you much more of an advantage being at home?
“It’s quite funny I didn’t realise myself! The next few games are nearly away. Can we still be in this mix afterwards? It’s going to be a tough few weeks. It’s a home game this weekend so it’s going to be very important to pick up three points this weekend. If you look at the last 4 or 5 games, we have been better on the road. I don’t believe it gives you any advantage, as any team can beat anyone on their day.
“We were at Dartford on Tuesday doing our homework. It’s very important that we keep our consistency with all our hard work. We’ve done all our homework on Eastbourne, we just have to turn up and give the 110%. We have to give our fans something to shout about by working hard and wearing that shirt with a bit of pride.”
It’s the last home game before Christmas..
“It’s important that we finish off on a high if we can but if we don’t then we don’t! As long as we compete and give 110% then I’ll be happy.