Gaffer's Chat with Harry Hudson - 15/07/2019
STEVE HOLE talks to Leafe boss, Harry Hudson for the first Gaffer’s Chat of pre-season. So, without further ado, let’s find out more from the Gaffer…
Welcome back to the first of our weekly chats about football and stuff, mate. Quite strange really, as on one hand it seems like ages since the final league game of last season, but on the other, time flies, as they say. Bet you’ve been busy over the past ten weeks.
Yes, it has come around ridiculously quickly! Work has been manic and the planning for Leafe never stops! Ramsgate does feel like a long time ago now though! Thankfully I had nearly erased that awful game from my memory – until you reminded me, Steve!
I love the pre-season period. Great to be back at Church Road again?
Yes, we’ve been back training for a couple of weeks and are now very much into full swing. We have had a lot of new players in and a handful of them are extremely exciting - me and Calum are enthused to start moulding them into a team for the coming season.
A gentle start to the pre-season fixtures and a ‘behind closed doors’ match at Church Road last Tuesday against your old club Croydon FC. The 6-0 win must have pleased you?
I thought we played with an intensity that allowed us to gain control of the match. We were wasteful in front of goal until the final period but overall it was good to see some trialists play and see the squad start to take shape.
How did you see the 3-3 draw against Molesey last Saturday? Some promising performances and they definitely came to give us a game?
We conceded some really poor goals which is quite unlike us but I would rather we gave them away now than when the season starts. Going forward we look very dangerous and should have scored a lot more than we did but we were wasteful. Credit to Molesey though – they defended with their lives and were a threat on the counter – I am sure they will have a good season.
Looking like you have another batch of exciting new signings and triallists for pre-season? Tell us about Malachi Simpson and Renadie Masumpu?
Malachi is an outstanding athlete who I have known for 4/5 years – he was part of our Kinetic academy before signing for Barnet FC. He is an all action Central midfielder who has ability on and off the ball.
Renedie has just come out of Chelsea FC where he was for 18 months. Again, we knew him as a youth player when he was at Kinetic before going into the Met Police side and getting signed. I am unsure how long Renedie will be with us but for the time being we will aim to maximise his skills!
Looks like Ricardo Thompson and Bryan Akongo have kicked on from last season?
Both have been exceptional since coming back in. Akongo has been away training in the USA and looks stronger, fitter and sharper than he has ever been before – he has scored in both of our pre-season games so far and I hope he can continue that form into the season.
Meanwhile, Ricardo is at an important age to kick on as he has the ability to play a lot higher and he needs to focus on reaching his potential. Ric is an exceptional defender who is excellent on the ball – again let’s hope his form continues!
One new signing that looks incredibly exciting is striker, Ronald Sobowale? He already has three goals and looks like to be the goalscorer we needed after Eddie departed? He was at Herne Bay last season? You must be pleased to have secured his services?
We had three big targets to get in for pre-season and we have secured two of those three already with Ronald and Jordan Clarke. Before our injuries we had the joint best defensive record in the league last season and we have kept that back four and Tyler our keeper together so it was always a priority to improve our forward players. Jordan and Ronald provide us with that quality and firepower.
Looking forward to this Saturday (July 20) we entertain Peachaven in another pre-season friendly. What do you know about them?
Not too much to be honest! Pre-season games are always tough to call but the closer we get to the season starting the more serious they are taken; squads become smaller and you start to take notice of the score lines. The unpredictable nature of pre-season was highlighted by the difference in our defensive application in two games last week! On Tuesday, we were solid and on Saturday we looked poor! I am sure we will iron out the mistakes and then we are onto a winning formula.
There’s been plenty of teams in our newly renamed BETVICTOR South East league splashing the proverbial cash on new signings?
Yes, there are a lot of teams announcing big money signings and fair play to them. It doesn’t worry us though at this stage - some of the figures being bandied about are extremely ‘interesting’ shall we say. We have a different approach at Leafe that we believe in and we will give it a good go and try and punch above our weight again.
Can you give the Leafe fans - all excited, like me - a message for pre-season and beyond, please, Harry?
We really want to build upon last season and keeping the core of the team together is integral for that. I think you can expect to see our style again replicated and some new faces in the forward areas.
It will be important for us financially to do well in the FA competitions to hopefully allow us to sustain momentum throughout the season. We want to go one better than last year and reach the playoffs but we know from experience this is not easy!