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Getting To Know Aldershot Town

By Jacob Greenwood

Woking travel to local rivals Aldershot Town on Boxing Day and will be hoping for a repeat of last season’s success against The Shots.

After recording wins against Gateshead and Bromley, Woking fans would have hoped that Garry Hill’s side would have pushed on. However, Cup and Trophy disappointment followed and with Woking failing to beat Guiseley last time out in the league, Cards fans are again looking at the shrinking gap to the relegation zone (just goal difference is keeping Woking above the line).

Guis.JPG
Guiseley Hold Woking to a Goalless Draw

If you listen to football folklore then form goes out of the window in derby games. This statement will be music to the ears of both Cards and Shots fans as both sides have been struggling of late. We caught up with Tommy Anderson, Chairman of The Shots Trust, to find out what we can expect on Boxing Day.

It’s been a while since we played each other and since we last met there was quite a big summer for The Shots off the pitch with Gary Waddock returning to the club. Fans must have been delighted to see him return?

There were big changes at Aldershot back in the summer both on the playing side and of course the return of Gary Waddock as manager which was just what the club needed! Season ticket sales rose dramatically following Gary’s return, a good, competitive squad was assembled and our start to the season was extremely encouraging. Our recent form has dipped and cup exits in the FA Cup and FA Trophy at the hands of lower opposition was disappointing, no question about that, however I think we need to be realistic and honest and say if 10th position was offered to us back in June at this present time, we would have had accepted it. From a personal point of view, I am content overall with how the season has panned out. I expect the squad to bounce back from recent disappointments and improve as the season goes on and put pressure on the teams above.

A few other additions included Scott Rendell and Jake Cole from Woking. How have both players settled in at The Rec?

They’ve done ok. Jake Cole in particular has significantly improved us in the goalkeeping position. Earlier on in the season, he made some crucial saves at key times in games to preserve our lead, he offers big assurances to the defenders ahead of him with his talking and direction, a real leader. Scott Rendell for me is slowly getting better and better, the goals haven’t produced what he had done previous, this is down to mostly being played in a deeper position and also people need to realise that this season he came back from a cruciate ligament injury that put him out of action for all of last season, arrived at Aldershot and played lots of games in a short space of time and was clearly shattered! However, Scott has now really worked on his fitness and is looking sharper and sharper and I’m fully confident that the goals will flow in the not so distant future.

It has been an up and down season so far for yourselves with disappointment in the FA Cup and Trophy (similar to Woking!) but a steady mid-table position has been maintained. There have been a few big results in there too. How do you think things are working out and are the play-offs the aim?

Overall, I’m fairly content with how the season has panned out. Major disappointments in exiting both cup competitions early and for clubs like ourselves, there is a lot of financial gain to be had from a decent run in both competitions, however our league campaign has been a vast improvement on recent years, we are playing an entertaining, attacking style of football which we long sought for at the a EBB Stadium! Early doors, we started in superb fashion scoring plenty of goals and putting good sides under the sword! However, like all clubs, we are currently on a disappointing run of results and that needs to be addressed quickly. We now have a perfect chance with the next two fixtures to get our season back on track and to make an almighty push for the play-offs which for me has to always be the target, despite the fact it would be an overachievement on our budget for that to happen this season.

Who will Woking have to watch out for on Boxing Day?

Jake Gallagher – A tenacious, hardworking player who now plays in a further forward role since Gary’s arrival and has an attacking edge about him that not a lot of people would expect him to have. A player that always gives 100% and from speaking to him in the week, he is completely fired up and ready for the festive fixtures!

Idris Kanu – A highly rated youngster who is attracting plenty of interest higher up the football pyramid certainly has the game to create and muster chances and goals out of nothing. With the TV cameras circulating the EBB Stadium on the 26th, Idris will see this as a fine chance to impress and put a statement out to the interested suitors.

Scott Rendell – Scott will be relishing coming up against his former side and will be really chomping at the bit to get his goalscoring boots firing. A natural finisher who certainly has plenty of goals left in the tank and always one for any team to watch out for.

Finally, what is your score prediction?

I’m predicting Aldershot Town to get back to winning ways, after last year’s disappointing matches against Woking. It’s time for us to attempt to get the double crown back! Woking will certainly cause problems and come with a game plan but I’m backing Aldershot to win 3-1!

Photos by David Holmes. For a full set go to wokingfc.co.uk.

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Getting to know the opposition – FC Halifax Town

Woking face FC Halifax Town on Saturday after picking up a point against a strong Barnet team in midweek.

After defensive errors were costing The Cards vital points early on in the season, Garry Hill will be encouraged that Woking have only conceded one goal in their last three games. Saturday will be another tough test though with Halifax chasing their first victory on the road this season.

Town come into the game off the back of a 2-2 draw with Nuneaton Town and previous to that a heart-breaking 4-3 defeat to Luton Town. We talked to @BradleyDobson to find out about how The Shaymen have started this campaign.

Woking draw a blank vs Barnet on Tuesday evening
Woking draw a blank vs Barnet on Tuesday evening

Halifax have had a stable start to the season and a very impressive home record. Did the fans expect last season’s momentum to carry on into this season or has it taken supporters by surprise a little?

If you were to ask me at the start of the season where we’d like to of finished in the table, I’d of gladly took one place outside of the relegation zone. I think the real aim of this season is quite simply to just stay in this league, anything else is a bonus! The momentum from last season was prolific, with drawing with Guiseley at home in the first play-off leg of the BSN season, I had my doubts but on we went to Brackley and what a day that was, speechless comes to mind. The season so far? I don’t think any of us expected to do as well as we are. The main aim for us is to keep our home record a pristine as possible, that way we will stay in the Premier this season.

As I mentioned you have started well at home this season, why do think that is?

 We’ve had a great start to the season when it comes to our home record you’re right there! I think once the players know they have the whole ‘fortress’ thing going on, every home game becomes a bigger battle. It’s just a shame it hasn’t gone that way on our travels. In most seasons from the NPL upwards we’ve always had a good home record, fingers crossed we maintain it throughout the season.

Is the main aim for this season still survival or will fans be looking at nicking a play-off spot?

As I briefly said in the first question, the main aim is to stay up! I’d be more than happy with that, as I’m sure all Town supporters would be as well as he club. The way we’ve kicked off this season, who is to say we won’t nick a play-off place? Let’s get Christmas out of the way and then ask me again.

Who will Woking fans have to look out for on Saturday?

Dan Gardner in attack and Marc Roberts in defence. I won’t say anymore, can’t be giving to much information away. After all, we need an away win at some point!

Finally, what is you score prediction?

 0-3 to Halifax, I think the away win as been coming, Saturday I feel is the day.

Questions and article by Jacob Greenwood @JGreenwood91

Photo by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk

Come on you Cards!

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