Whyteleafe FC

New Year Gaffer's Chat with Harry Hudson

After a well-deserved festive break Gaffer’s Chat is back and Leafe boss, Harry Hudson brings us up to date with first team developments, news and views.

Harry, how was your Christmas? Good thanks! It was a busy one but enjoyable! 

Let’s firstly look back to pre-Christmas and the 2-0 home win over Haywards Heath Town? A great result for us in a game in which we didn’t play particularly well. I would imagine Haywards Heath would feel like they should have got something from the game and I would probably agree with them! We have been managing so many injuries recently, missing seven or eight key players each week, but we have developed a resilience that has allowed us to still pick up points. We are unbeaten in the last nine league games with five clean sheets which is pleasing. 

You’ve just returned from a festive day trip to Guernsey and a very hard-fought 0-0 draw. Given that a match against Guernsey isn’t a ‘gimme’ anymore and they are going well this season, in the circumstances were you satisfied with a point? I think Guernsey are a really good side this year with a clear plan and structure - Tony and his staff are doing an excellent job.  Guernsey should have been leading at half time as they were much better than us but we changed things during the interval and I thought we had the better of the second half. In the end we had a few chances but we didn’t deserve three points on the day. 

You are suffering with your injury list. Doesn’t make things easy. Is it a sign of how things have changed this season whereby last year when you had injuries we might have lost a few games, whereas this season if you aren’t toughing out wins, you are least getting a draw? That’s progress. Yes, certainly it’s been a real challenge trying to manage our squad and so to be unbeaten in nine league games is a real testament to the players. We have had to rely on playing academy players who have been outstanding - Lesley Duru, especially, has been exceptional.

Massive game coming up this Saturday (January 4, Church Road - 3pm) when we entertain league leaders, Hastings Town? We were unlucky to lose at their place early in the season, how do you see this one? It would be great to see a bumper crowd at Church Road to kick off the new year, right? It’s a game that we really look forward to and I can’t wait to see Church Road bouncing. Hastings are the best team in our league this year, in my opinion, but we have a decent record against them and the matches are always good spectacles. 

It’s that time of year – can you give us a round-up of how you view the first half of the season? The FA cup run was fantastic and the whole club benefited from it hugely. Our league position is good, but we certainly haven’t performed anywhere near our highest level yet, so if we have that to come we can all look forward to an exciting 2020!

A message for the Leafe fans, Harry? I hope all our fans and their families enjoyed a restful Christmas and I wish them a Happy New Year! Let’s all get behind the team in 2020 and push on - we have an excellent group of young and exciting players who, with your support, can beat anyone in our division on our day! UP THE LEAFE!

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