Bobby Wilkinson's Pre-Match Thoughts
Stones will look to respond quickly after the loss to Eastbourne on Saturday when they travel to St Albans. Sam Watts spoke to Bobby Wilkinson to find out his thoughts on the game…
Firstly, the team news…
We are waiting for confirmation on Bradley Bubb. His knee is still swollen, we are just waiting to see how bad it is. We have appealed Christian Smith’s suspension but we won’t know the result until tomorrow, as soon as we know we will tell you. Jonathan North is back for Saturday which is great news for us.
On Shomotun’s contract situation…
We are unsure at the moment. We want the player to stay and it is not a case of lack of trying from myself. He is available to be in the squad for Saturday, but it’s his last game.
On whether after the disappointment of Saturday means there is added pressure to win this weekend?
Not really. We don’t want to lose three in a row and we don’t want to lose one, but it happens in football and you have to stick together. I have been quite surprised by the amount of people telling me we’ve lost our last two league games. Do I win the league today? Do I lose it today? We don’t want to lose any game. What we want to do is keep believing and keep working hard. I’m not happy with last weekend – it comes down to consistency. We just stick together and whatever will be will be. We are five points off top spot and three points off the play-offs.
How difficult the goalkeeping situation was against Eastbourne…
I never wanted to put a 16-year-old in goal for the game. It was a case of having no choice, with [Jonathan] North unavailable due to work commitments. To sign a player on loan, to prepare for our first-choice goalkeeper being not available, is to bring someone in for 28 days. We were not backed in this sense, with North away for only one week, so it had to be a youth loan.
On the challenge ahead…
We have to keep trying to pick up points. I’m not happy dropping 6 points in the last 2 games but I have to make it clear – we were second in the league. We don’t need to That proves how tight the league is; if you lose two you drop. Let’s not get greedy, but let’s not start panicking either.
Every team in this league have a blip. Concord had a blip and didn’t win for 3 or 4 games, now they’re on great form. Dartford had a blip 2 months ago, now they are in the play offs. Let’s just stick together and believe in the project. We will train hard tonight as we do every game.
St Albans haven’t played a match for 10 days and also haven’t won a match since the 30th October, are you expecting an onslaught of determination from them?
Any team at home this year in this league is dangerous. Our boys just have to keep believing in what we are doing. The players are desperate to win themselves, therefore it’s a case of who handles the pressure the most. If they win, they go 2 points behind us, and we were second 14 days ago – you are going to go through some bad spells throughout the season. We are only 5 points off top right now.
Is the desire to perform at a high standard fuelled as much by wanting to please the fans and the pride of the team as the 3 points?
Yeah, we have a bunch of winners here – when we lose, we are devastated. Even on Saturday, we went down to 10 men but we were still fighting. If we score the penalty you don’t know what happens. We have to fight more now to get out the other side. We will start worrying when you stop fighting and you don’t care, but we care. It’s so important that we stay together, and we believe. Everyone has to have that passion on Saturday, but nothing will change for us – we have been training hard all week and we will just try to win a game of football. I will keep saying this because our philosophy hasn’t changed; we have to come as a group and a family, give 110%, work hard and most importantly stay together.