Woking travel to the Deva Stadium on Saturday looking for their first win of the season when they take on newly promoted Chester.
We talked to Chester supporter Chris Graham to find out more about the side from the north-west, who are also looking for their first victory of the new campaign.
Hi Chris, After a massively successful season last year, where you set the Conference North record for: Highest points total (107), most wins in a season (34), fewest defeats in a season (3), most goals scored (103) and best goal difference (+71), what are your realistic ambitions for this season?
A- It’s been a very strange offseason, obviously confidence was sky high after breaking so many records last season but since the end the season there have been a lot of changes. The squad that broke those records has pretty much been split up, with only a handful of players remaining. This has made it difficult to know what to expect, with plenty of new faces in. Realistically I think that most Blues fans would be happy settling for a mid table finish going into the season, and despite the tough start I think that a lot of people are realising just how difficult this season will be.
Like Woking you’re yet to register your first win and also like Woking you’re still looking for your first league goal of the new campaign, have you just been unlucky or shall we prepare ourselves for a bore draw?
A- In the two games we’ve played so far we’ve been comfortable up until half time, then gone and thrown it all away (conceding against Barnet in the 46th minute and vs Hereford in first half injury time). The team is still trying to find its identity and gel together so there have been a few errors at the back that have lead to silly goals while up top we’re struggling to create chances. I think the biggest gap at present has been the loss of Antoni Sarcevic, sold to Fleetwood in the summer, as he was such a huge part of the teams attacking play. At present it seems that the plan is to go long towards the channels and getting plenty of crosses into the penalty area but so far it’s not been successful and because of this I think there may just be the solitary goal in it.
How have you found the difference in standard between the Conference North and Premier in your opening two matches (Barnet & Hereford)?
A- Personally I think it’s probably one of the biggest steps up between any division, in the North there is far more time on the ball than in the Premier, the other big difference I’ve noticed is that the strikers in the Premier division are far more clinical. Obviously the fact that there are so many full time clubs makes it even more difficult, but I think that part time clubs have shown that if they get it right then there are opportunities for those clubs to do well. Given the start the club have been handed, with trips to Kidderminster and the local derby against Wrexham split with a game against Forest Green on Bank Holiday Monday still to come, then the club may have somewhat a false position early doors before coming back strong as the season progresses.
What players will pose the biggest threat to Woking on Saturday?
A- I think the sides pretty unbalanced at the moment, almost all the positive play going forward so far has been down the right wing, where Craig Lindfield and Leeds Loanee Lewis Turner have linked up well. Also watch out for Lewis’ identical twin, Nathan, in the centre of the park as he’s full of energy. As mentioned earlier, expect plenty of crosses into the area, most likely to come from Lindfield and left back, Kevin McIntyre, both of whom are also good from dead ball situations. Up top Gareth Seddon has started brightest of the strikers, looking lively and chasing down chances but if Alex Titchiner is passed fit then may be given the nod ahead of Jamie Reed. Titchiner’s pace is something that Blues fans feel they have been missing so far this season and a lot of hopes have been pinned on the Fleetwood man in getting the club off the mark.
Finally, what is your score prediction for Saturday?
A- Despite the difficult start for the club so far I’m still going to have to stay loyal and predict three points for the Blues. I don’t think there will be much in it though, so I’m thinking 1-0 to Chester. At this point I think it’s more about the result than the performance though I think both Lewis and Nathan Turner will both have strong games and Gareth Seddon scoring the only goal of the game.
Thank you to Chris for talking to us. You can follow him on Twitter at @LordChristov
Come on you Cards!