Whyteleafe FC

Gaffer's Chat with Harry Hudson - 11/10/2018

Whyteleafe FC fan, committee member and local motoring journalist, Steve Hole, talks to manager Harry Hudson each week.

First of all, sorry that there was no Gaffer’s Chat last week. It was all geared towards the St Albans City game…that will be a collector’s item now. Maybe not!

Each week, Harry brings you the highs and the lows of managing The Leafe!

Let’s kick-off this week, Harry, by talking about last Saturday’s league game against Phoenix Sports, which was played in atrocious weather? Both our fans and the Phoenix supporters I spoke to reckoned we should have won. Your thoughts?
I thought we started the game very well and took control from the first whistle. We played with fluidity and played through Phoenix early on – it is so important that we capitalise on our dominant spells in matches which unfortunately we didn’t manage to do.

As the half went on Phoenix came into the game more and we were very disappointed to concede a goal on the stroke of half time from a corner. We had some strong words at half time and needed to correct some aspects which we didn’t do well enough.

Although we didn’t come out of the traps flying in the second half, once we got playing I thought we took control of the game and deservedly got ourselves ahead. To then concede another goal from a set piece, again right at the end of the half, is bitterly disappointing. The result felt like another two points dropped in the league which again reinforces how far we have come to go to places like Phoenix and expect to win.

A mad game though. We could have nicked that at the death? 
Chinny has done everything right to get in front of their defender –  seeing the ball come back out after hitting the underside of the crossbar is sickening!  

Then on Tuesday evening we played Egham Town FC at the second time of asking in the Velocity Trophy qualifying round. Disappointed with the 2-1 defeat? 
Yes, always disappointed to lose any football match especially after going ahead in the game. It is a difficult place to go to on a Tuesday night and a difficult pitch to play on but I was proud of our application and endeavour – we also played the last 20 minutes with ten men as Helge had to go off the pitch and I had made three changes already. 

There were only three starters from Saturday’s game (Lauris Chin, Matt Weller and Arif Hattabi) it definitely showed the strength in depth of the squad. It was good to give some of them some invaluable game time and despite the defeat there were lots of positives? 
Most certainly, our squad players have been patient and deserve their chances and Egham was a great test for them. I am also proud that eleven of the fourteen man squad for the game were teenagers and it shows we have great strength in depth to only lose narrowly. There are a lot of those players who are knocking on the door very loudly! It is a great problem to have!

Buildbase FA Trophy business this Saturday (October 13) and we face a tough trip to Hastings, whom we also play in the league at Church Road, two weeks later. Looking forward to this one, Harry? 
Absolutely cannot wait! We will have had two sessions to prepare for the game. Myself and Calum love tactical games of football and Saturday will certainly be that.

Of course, we could have had an easier draw than Hastings away but it is a game to look forward to! Typically, we raise our game against good sides and Hastings are certainly that.

They have a young manager, young squad and look to play football, which everyone tells you cannot be done in non-league football. Calum and I have a lot of respect for what they do but will be looking to cause an upset on Saturday, no doubt! 

Is this game a good test before we play them in the league or a hindrance? What’s your take on that? 
It is an interesting one and can be looked at both ways. Both teams get a chance to look at each other before the league game and suss each other out which is the same for both teams. It will be interesting to see if either team tries something different in the cup game or whether they stick to their same principles! 

Are you looking forward to the coach trip to the game with some of the fans? 
Most definitely and so are the players! It gives the fans and players more opportunity to mix and build relationships. Often after games everyone has plans and the time can be limited but the coach is a great chance!

Did you see the complimentary remarks made about the team by Ramsgate manager Lloyd Blackman following last week’s draw? In his manager’s briefing on the club’s website he likens your side to Cray Wanderers. High praise? 
That is very nice to hear other managers being complimentary about us and our style and I thank Lloyd for that – we should be proud as a club to leave a positive impression on opposing teams.

It is nice to be compared to good sides and I appreciate the compliment. Although I want Leafe to have our own identity and be at the top of the table! One thing I can say is that I am sure Cray wouldn’t have dropped four points last week and that is where we need to strive to improve! 

Let’s deal with the injury news first, this week. Helge Orome limped off near the end of the Egham Town game. That didn’t look like a minor knock? 
No, I think Helge will be a matter of weeks with a hamstring problem. Marvin Armstrong is also still struggling with a badly bruised kidney which is touch and go for the weekend.

Then we have a good number of new faces in the squad to report. Tell us a bit more about them as they are new names/faces for The Leafe fans?

Daniel Akinwunmi –
ex-Reading FC full back with excellent attacking tendencies.

Jamie McGeoghegan -
experienced centre back who was with me at Croydon FC last year. Jamie broke his wrist in pre-season and is dual signed with Croydon FC.

Afriye Offeigyimaha -
tricky winger signed from Sutton United – similar mould to Gus!

Daniel Hogan –
ex-Crystal Palace centre midfielder who has recently been at Merstham and East Grinstead Town. 

Nick Akoto –
ex-AFC Wimbledon right back who is an excellent one versus one defender and accomplished in possession

Adam Aziz -
excellent attacking midfielder who has been likened to ‘Mahrez’ by his teammates!

Malik Nosike –
ex-Gillingham CM who is dual signed with Croydon FC

Finally this week, and without throwing you under the proverbial bus, Harry, I know you can’t announce it just yet but there’ll be news next week of a very exciting new signing? 
Watch this space! I think the fans will be pleased!!!

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