Assistant Manager's Chat with Calum McFarlane
This week, Steve Hole sits down with Leafe assistant manager, Calum McFarlane to hear his views on last week’s pre-season defeat at home to BetVictor Isthmian Premier side, Worthing FC and the upcoming (and final pre-season game) visit of South Park.
Calum, last week’s defeat against Worthing was a bit of a shock? It has to be said, they were a really good side though? In a strange sort of way, although it was a defeat, can you take positives out of that result?
Generally, we've had a good pre-season and put in some good performances so we felt confident going into the game. Worthing are a good side so we knew it would be a test, but unfortunately, we made three big mistakes in the first 30 minutes and were punished. You can’t do that against any team, let alone a top side like Worthing. It’s hard to take positives out of a game and a result like that, but we debriefed on Tuesday at training and identified some areas, as a team, that we need to improve on. Hopefully these can be rectified before our match against Herne Bay next week.
Back to normal this Saturday (Church Road –3pm) for the visit of South Park? They’ll present a different set of challenges? We don’t really know much about South Park - all we do know is that they are a young side, similar to us. Our main focus is to meet the standards that we have set in pre-season and to enforce our style and principles on the game. We're hoping that this will lead to a positive result and performance.
Thus far in pre-season, we’re all square with BetVictor Premier and North division sides. We’ll be pitting our wits against a South Central team this week. Is it good to play teams from other divisions even though we won’t come up against them in the league this season? The benefit of playing teams in other divisions is that you don’t have to show your cards too early, especially with our ethos and style of play. The second part of the season is always interesting because all the teams have played or watched each other so teams are able to tactically change their set up.
Where do you stand on claims that the pre-season campaign is too long? Almost like a mini-season.
Pre-season is usually around six to seven weeks, which I personally feel is the right amount of time. There’s a lot to do in pre-season, such as building general fitness, observing and making decisions on new players, establishing your game model and tactical framework. It takes time to get your preparation right.
How are preparations going for the visit of Herne Bay next Saturday (August 17, Church Road –3pm) and our first league match? How do you reckon the pre-season games have been overall? Very good - the boys have trained well over the last two days and will be highly motivated to get back to winning ways. In terms of our pre-season, we have been really pleased with the types of opponents we have come up against. Maldon was a good test against a young footballing side, and Beckenham was the complete opposite - a very experienced and direct side with lots of dangerous players. We completely dominated against Merstham for 70 minutes, which shows the quality we have in the squad, especially to be able to do that against a team in the league above. The Worthing game showed us that we also can’t be complacent and if we aren’t at it 100 per cent we will get punished. Overall, we're very pleased with our preparation for the upcoming season.
Finally, here comes the old chestnut! Any injuries to report for this Saturday?
No major issues or injuries. Corey Holder won’t play on Saturday which is a big loss. He has a bad bruise on his foot, which he is struggling with so we won’t be risking him. Jamie will step in however, and he has had a fantastic pre-season, so no concerns there.