Whyteleafe FC

Gaffer's Chat With Harry Hudson - 13/12/2018


Whyteleafe FC fan and motoring journalist, Steve Hole, goes all festive cheer this week and has a crafty pint with Leafe boss, Harry Hudson to talk about the week’s happening with The Leafe first team. 

A look back at the 0-0 draw away to a combative Ashford United played in yet more teeming rain and this Saturday’s visit of Hythe Town.

Thanks for the kind words we’ve been getting about Gaffer’s Chat. Although details have to be formalised, plans are afoot for a LIVE Gaffer’s Chat that will take place in the clubhouse prior to a game. We’ll keep you posted on that one.

Each week Harry will bring us his thoughts and important team news, the ins, the outs, and the highs and lows.

A tough game last Saturday, Harry. How did you see it? It was a tight game that was affected heavily by the conditions – the old choice cliché of 'a game of two halves'. Although we struggled to get out every time we limited them to one big chance in the first half which we cleared. The second half was a different story and we had lots of good opportunities which we failed to capitalise upon. At the point of the sending off, there was only one team going to win the match and we were in the ascendency – although we went down to ten men I still thought we could have nicked it. To record our fourth clean sheet on the bounce does bode well and in truth, a point isn’t a terrible result away from home.   

The top eight teams all played each other last weekend, which is quite unusual, did any of the other results surprise you? I didn’t expect Hastings to lose again, to be honestbut the other results are pretty much to be expected! VCD losing at home to Guernsey was slightly unexpected as well.

I’ve got to hand it to you mate. The week after we beat them 3-1 and they were languishing in about 16th place in the league you said Horsham were a team to watch. They certainly seem like the ones to keep an eye on at the minute? Yes, they were good when we played them and it certainly wasn’t a normal 3-1 win for us by any stretch. They have been on a fantastic run but lost on Tuesday evening to Three Bridges 2-1 as did Saturday's opponent Hythe Town against Greenwich, so the results were good for us. It is incredibly tight at the moment and I do not think anyone will break away - apart from Cray…

Best not speak about refereeing for obvious reasons but Corey Holder’s sending off on Saturday seemed harsh? I think the official was card happy on Saturday - Corey has made two fouls in 77 minutes, both of which are questionable yellow card offences, and was dismissed.  

This means that with our captain Nathan Campbell away and Corey suspended, our centre back core will be missing? Thoughts? Yes, it will certainly be a miss to us but we have adapted before and we will adapt again! Thankfully we have added some players recently so we have some cover!

How long will Nathan be missing? What’s his injury? He has a historical wrist injury from last year, unfortunately. It needs to be operated on as it could result in early onset of arthritis if not treated – he will be out for 2-3 months. Nathan is a huge player and leader for us but it just opens up an opportunity for someone else. Everyone at Leafe wishes Nathan a speedy recovery!  

On a brighter note, were you pleased with the performance of seventeen-year-old Emmanuel Maja on Saturday? He did a sterling job covering for Bentley Graham, which are big boots to fill, of course. Bentley’s role for the team is very unique and exceptionally important for us so it is always hard for a player to try and fill that spot. That being said Maja came in, on his debut as a seventeen-year old, and performed to the level. 
We do not have the money to be able to replace players if they get suspended or injured so we look below at the youth team and Maja is a perfect example of that as was Ryan Penton the week before. Maja will have a career in professional football I am sure of it.

I know that you and Calum work with young players during the week with your Kinetic Foundation and you know just how good a lot of these guys are but even you must be surprised sometimes at the way these lads come in and do so well? Take Emmanuel for example, he wasn’t over-awed… They are educated in the same system as the first team so it certainly helps them being able to come in and perform. Thankfully we have a good reputation for helping young players progress into professional football and we subsequently attract some of the best talent in London. 

Maja has trialled at West Ham and Manchester City in the last season and I am sure he will be back into clubs very soon, as I said earlier. Senior football is, of course, a different set of demands to Academy football but we trust the players and credit to them that they have performed. Bryan Akongo, Matt O'Donoghue, Brad Wilson, Dan Hector and David Owusu are just a few of the Kinetic graduates that have played a huge part in our success this year.

I think Sir Alex Ferguson disproved the infamous ‘you win nothing with kids’ comment, what’s your view on it? (although I suspect I know the reply!) I think you need a blend and you need to trust players to give them a chance when they are ready, not due to their age. Consistency is the biggest aspect which comes with experience in my opinion – we have seen that first hand this year!

Back to Church Road this Saturday (3pm) Harry and we entertain Hythe Town who sit one point and one place above us in the league. How do you view this one? It is another big test for us against a high scoring opposition. They have lost their last two and will be looking to bounce back I am sure. They have offensive players that are some of the best in the league, Zak is an exceptional CF, and we will need to manage these carefully. However, we always back ourselves and we haven’t lost in the last four and have racked up four clean sheets in the process which now puts us level with Cray on goals conceded. I am sure it will be a good game and hopefully, we can make it three home wins in a row.  

Any injuries or new signings to report? I am working on a new player who will hopefully be available by Saturday – fingers crossed! No injuries to report thankfully.

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