Assistant Gaffer's Chat with Calum McFarlane
Steve Hole grills assistant manager Calum McFarlane on recent developments, his reaction to the ‘friendly’ win at home to South Park and his thoughts on the league match v Chichester City FC.
Calum, great result (5-2 win) at home to South Central side, South Park. Good to get back to winning ways after the blip against Worthing? Yes definitely. We’re pleased with the performance. There were periods of the game where we were unplayable, I thought. Hopefully, we can take that confidence into our league matches and keep producing those kind of performances.
We face a tricky trip to Chichester City (who won the Southern Combination league last season, of course) on August 20. We've seen from the way that Haywards Heath Town (previous season's winners of that league) performed last season (made the play-offs) that sides coming up from that league are no mugs. Could be an interesting one? This season the league will be extremely competitive, particularly when you look at the clubs coming down and the promoted sides coming up. No games will be easy. We definitely won’t be taking anyone lightly and will make sure we approach every game with the correct mentality.
Are your preparations for the new league campaign finalised? We got our business done early, which always helps, plus we’ve have had a pretty settled group and got to work with them on and off the pitch. We’re ready for the season and really looking forward to it.
We now know our opponents in the FA Cup Extra Qualifying Round on Saturday, August 24. We travel away to Cray Valley Paper Mills FC in Eltham after they overcame Chatham Town last Saturday.
Talking of useful newcomers to our league, the 'Millers of Paper from the Valley of Cray' (sorry couldn't resist!) are a really useful team? They were FA Vase finalists last season also winning the Southern Counties East League Premier Divison, so again must not be underestimated. If I remember correctly they had a season long titanic battle against Corinthian FC, only coming out on top on the last day of the season, so they are a resilient bunch? Cray Valley are a really good side with good coaches and a great set up. They have also recruited well. We faced them three times when we were at Croydon FC a few seasons ago and they were always entertaining games with both teams playing fast paced attractive football, so I’m sure the upcoming fixture will be no different.
I guess a cup run is good news for several reasons? Do cup matches hinder a good league campaign or work in your favour? Everyone wants a long FA cup run - it’s brilliant for the whole club, especially the fans, players and of course the finances. With the fiasco that happened last season we feel we have unfinished business in the FA Cup. We will be doing everything we can to progress in the competition.
Can you pick from a full-strength squad at the moment? Unfortunately, Tre Daley suffered a pretty bad achilles injury so he is unavailable, which is a real shame because he has been playing very well in pre-season and was on course for a big season. He will do his rehab and we’re hopeful he will recover soon.
Apart from that we are at full strength.