By Jacob Greenwood
Woking travel to table-topping Barnet on Saturday as they look for a repeat of last season’s 3-1 victory at The Hive.
The Bees find themselves 7 points clear at the top of The Conference after 32 games and with the league’s top goalscorer, John Akinde, amongst their ranks, they are the bookies’ favourites to gain promotion.
Martin Allen kept hold of hitman Akinde in the January transfer window and added to his already impressive squad with the loan signing of Southend midfielder Conor Clifford earlier this week.
Garry Hill also added to his playing staff this week with Aswad Thomas re-signing for The Cards.
We talked to Barnet Blogger Lucy Waldon from the blog Look Black n Amber ahead of Saturday’s game.
Barnet have been the pace setters in The Conference this season, is a lot of this down to Martin Allen?
I think praise should be given to Allen for getting the best out of the players, both individually and as a team – I think his style of management is something we’ve needed, especially when you look back at other how we’ve performed under other managers. A lot of credit has to go to the players though, particularly with regards to our consistency. We finally have a group who really gel and when there’s an injury or suspension, we have back-up that can slot straight in. That’s definitely helped our form.
Bristol Rovers were very active in the transfer window, does that show that it will be a fight to the end?
There’s no doubt that the chasing pack (not just Rovers, but Grimsby and Macclesfield) will continue to put pressure on us and as has happened in previous seasons, there’s always the likelihood of the front-runners slipping up. We’ve not needed to be active as Allen has faith in the players we have and there are no areas we really need to strengthen. The fact that Bristol Rovers have brought in a few, for me, shows they obviously need extra numbers. Whether this means they’ll put up a greater fight, we’ll have to see. Although, I’ve just read that they were after Clifford, who we got in on loan from Southend. Hopefully he’s as good as the Shrimpers’ fans say.
Was the most significant (non) move in the transfer window, that of John Akinde?
I don’t think it was ever in any doubt that he was going to be going anywhere. I’d love to see him get 30+ goals this season!
Other than Akinde, who else will Woking have to watch out for on Saturday?
Our centre backs (Stephens and N’Gala) are both pretty big, so can be a threat from corners or free kicks into the box. I have to mention Luisma, our Spaniard on the wing. A dead ball specialist, he’s got that European flair and could prove dangerous on the counter attack.
Finally, what is your score prediction?
I always get this wrong, but I’ll go 1-0 Bees. Who else but Big Bad John?
Photographs by David Holmes. A full set can be viewed at wokingfc.co.uk