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Bobby Wilkinson's Pre-Match Thoughts

As the Stones prepare to face their FA Trophy 1st Round match away to Biggleswade Town, manager Bobby Wilkinson gives us his views ahead of the game…

An injury update…

“Joe Payne and Rhys Tyler are unfortunately both out with knee injuries. Joe [Payne] picked up his injury last Saturday with that tackle at the end of the first half and has travelled back to Barnet this week to receive treatment. Rhys [Tyler] picked up his in the game too but hasn’t recovered from it. It’s disappointing news for us. It’s not raining, it’s pouring for us at the moment but we have dust ourselves down and we will go again.”

News on Shomotun…

“We have lost Fumnaya Shomotun back to Barnet now after his spell here. Although my squad is being taken apart at the moment, right now we can’t dwell on it, we need to stick together.”

On the team having to deal with injury problems during preparation…

“I’m not sure if people are seeing what we are up against at the moment, it’s quite bizarre. I have read a few comments that have surprised me but these boys and the management are working extremely hard to achieve on the pitch on Saturday. We will not dwell on it, we just have to stick together and keep fighting. Anything that is being thrown at us at the moment; we are getting knocked down but we will get back up again. “

“It’s a tricky little period right now but it’s how we come through together. Last week’s point was crucial as we were up against forwards being injured and with Bradley Bubb out now for a while. Freddie is out too, it’s crazy but eventually the pouring rain will have to stop and we will go again.”

On whether the team reacted to Eastbourne against St Albans…

“I thought we got a reaction from the whole game – we didn’t concede. I think that’s very important away from home, we had to ride our luck for the last 20 minutes but that has happened every game this year. We didn’t concede in away from home in tricky conditions with only one fit forward playing. Should we have taken our chances in the first half? Yes. But we unfortunately didn’t so we have to accept that.”

Performances of David Pratt and what he gives for the team…

“David [Pratt] knows he should score, but he’s isn’t meaning to miss so we have to support him. He is going through a rough patch right now but we have to support him because we need him right now. He’s training extremely hard on Thursday but he didn’t train on Monday because he has a slight back problem, which is why he’s even 50/50 for tomorrow’s game.

“You just have to put your arm round him and show him that you trust him – he’s one of the best strikers in the league. There is no better striker that works harder than him. We have discussed it, he needs more goals. But I believe in him and I will back him all the way. What he is doing for this football club at the moment with no other strikers around him at the moment is a credit to him. Let’s not beat around the bush, he should score that chance but he’s giving his best efforts.”

On bringing players into the squad…

“I have had to bring in a couple of players from the leagues below and Eoin McKeown from Colchester too. I watched Eoin play – he’s young and he’s raw. It’s been difficult getting a striker in this week because some are cup tied, but I’m thankful for Colchester to give me a striker for 28 days that can hopefully come in and make an impact. We welcome him on board and let’s see if he can show some glimpses of what I’ve seen he can do.

“We will be fighting to win another game of football tomorrow. The boys have worked extremely hard this week and we only had 9 fit players training on Monday night. Quite a few couldn’t train because of knocks but we aren’t going to sit down and worry about it, we will try to win the game tomorrow.”

On an opportunity for Jeffrey Monakana…

“Jeff has his chance now hasn’t he? He has had spells where he’s been excellent and not so excellent but right now I need consistency from him. I thought he performed well for the team last week and I am very pleased. He’s trained well again this week and we will make a decision regarding him for tomorrow at Biggleswade.”

On the task of facing an in-form Biggleswade Town…

“They are a very good side losing just one game at home all season. They are a strong side, organised - I went to watch them last Tuesday and I was very impressed with them. It will be a tough game tomorrow, and we can’t afford to underestimate any team. They are 3rd in the league below and on top form. We are working exceptionally hard this week to be prepared and we love the challenge.

“It’s a great achievement to beat Concord in the 4th Qualifying Round away from home. The boys deserve all the praise after that terrific win and now we face the next challenge, tomorrow is a game we have earnt having beaten Concord. We want to win every competition so tomorrow is just another step we can take in the right direction.

“Biggleswade Town will be as tough a challenge as Concord, but we trust our ability. We just take it a game at a time and will travel there with the belief to win the game.”

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