Gaffer's Chat with Harry Hudson - 25/11/2019
Gaffer’s Chat returns this week with Leafe boss Harry Hudson bringing us up to date with recent developments.
Harry, let’s first look back to last Saturday and the East Grinstead game. Our visitors seemed to come armed with a game plan that they stuck to? We were incredibly dominant for the first 30 minutes and missed some incredible chances and East Grinstead grew in confidence off the back of our misses. The second half was a far more even game and they had a couple of chances. I thought East Grinstead worked very hard and I am sure they will start to climb the table if they keep performing like that. I do think that if we had got the early goal we would have gone on to win comfortably but that wasn’t to be. Keeping a clean sheet was a positive to take from the game as we have been shipping far too many goals recently.
Then, last Tuesday evening we welcomed Chertsey Town of the BetVictor Isthmian South Central division to Church Road for a Velocity Cup Group 10 game. A scrappy game, disappointing to lose to an 85th minute winner? We have been playing too many games lately and the restructuring of the Velocity competition really hasn’t helped – every manager I have spoken to has found the format a hindrance rather than a help and I subscribe to that school of thought. It was a very poor game of football and one to forget.
Back to winning ways this Saturday just gone. Another awayday to sunny Kent to face Lloyd Blackman’s Whitstable Town and a comfortable victory. That must have pleased you and Calum? That win puts us back up to 8th place and within touching distance of the play-off places. Yes, I thought we played well and should have scored a few more on the day. The most pleasing thing for us is that is now two clean sheets in a row and we looked back to our best defensively on Saturday. We were commanding and dominant throughout the 90 minutes and we looked impressive.
This week we have no fewer than three games. Firstly, a Velocity Cup group decider away to Tooting & Mitcham. Win that and we’ll progress to the knock-out stage and a visit to BetVictor Prem side (and current league leaders!), Horsham? Tooting & Mitcham will be a tough one Harry? They knocked us out of the FA Trophy. It will be a tough game and you never really know how teams will line up in the Velocity Trophy. If we managed to progress we would have to play another Thursday evening against Horsham as we don’t have any Tuesday’s left! Not an ideal situation.
For the first time for many a year, we also have a game on a Thursday and a Surrey Senior Cup fixture away to Lingfield FC. Our opponents are struggling a bit this season in Southern Combination Premier, but you won’t be taking them lightly? No, I am sure they will be up for the cup game! But to be playing Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in November is ludicrous – our priority will be the league and we will be planning for the Three Bridges fixture.
We return to BetVictor Isthmian South East duty next Saturday (Nov 30 – 3pm) when we welcome Three Bridges FC to Church Road. They are struggling in the league this season but – whisper this – they did the double over us last term and have ex-Leafe players, Antone Douglas and Andre McCollin within their ranks. A tricky one? They have much better players than their league position suggests – especially in forward positions. They are a real threat and score a lot of goals so we will have to defend well to keep them out. We need to get a run together in the league and push for the playoff places and we will endeavour to do that Saturday.
You’ve secured Cray Wanderers striker, Freddie Parker on a month’s loan? Might that become a permanent deal? No, Freddie is a Cray player but we might potentially be able to extend the length of the loan agreement.
Finally, I have resisted these words for many weeks! Have you any injury problems for the coming week?
Jordan Clarke is still struggling with his hamstring, Matt O'Donoghue has a hip flexor issue and Mannie Mensah needs some rest this week. We just need to manage the boys accordingly with all the games we are playing at the moment.
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