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Getting to know the opposition – Barnet

By Jacob Greenwood

Woking’s trip to Barnet signals the start of a difficult month for The Cards as they look to secure their Conference status.

Since the departure of Edgar Davids from The Hive, Barnet have been on a great run and have won 5 out of 5 games under the new management team of Ulrich Landvreugd and Dick Schreuder.

This will make it a very tough game for Woking who will be looking to bounce back from their 2-0 loss to Kidderminster Harriers on Tuesday evening.

We talked to Barnet fan and blogger Lucy Waldon about the Bees’ promotion hopes and that man, Edgar Davids, ahead of Woking’s first trip to The Hive –

Barnet were well known in footballing circles for having Edgar Davids at the helm earlier in the season, but he has now moved on, has this been a positive for the club being outside the media spotlight?

Definitely, although it’s fair to say he raised the profile of the club whilst he was with us. This wasn’t always a good thing, mind – what the numerous red cards and his decision not to travel away with the team. The latter certainly didn’t go down well with fans. That said, a lot of the time I was pinching myself; how does a player of that calibre ever stumble across a club like us? Since his departure, we have been getting the results we need as well – massive credit to Uli and Dick for the hard work they’ve put in.

The two sides played out a goalless draw at Kingfield earlier in the season
The two sides played out a goalless draw at Kingfield earlier in the season

How have the new management team gone about changing your fortunes, as you have been on a very impressive run recently?

Well nothing has changed, really. We’d been playing decent football before, it was all about grinding results. I think the players respect Uli and Dick a lot more and there’s no “I’m better than you” attitude. The players seem to be playing with a lot more confidence too, which is good to see. We’ve now won five in a row – a feat we’ve not achieved for a while (someone mentioned 2004 was the last time this happened – not sure how true that is).

You are currently 15 points off of Luton, does that mean the fans have given up hope of being champions and are starting to focus on securing a play-off spot?

I don’t think we ever thought we’d go straight back up, let alone as champions! The Conference is a lot harder than it was the last time we were in it (we went up in 04/05) and so many of the teams that were previously in the Football League have proved that. We are gaining momentum at a good time though, so if we carry on, I don’t see why we can’t cement a play-off place. I don’t think the wheels will fall off for Luton now, either.

This will be Woking’s first trip to The Hive, can you sum it up for us?

Well it’s your typical modern stadia, pretty lifeless. It’s in the middle of nowhere too, with houses either side of the gates. Underhill was your traditional old-school ground, whereas The Hive is the opposite. It has no charm either. The pitch is incredible though, although the London Broncos now play there too, so I’m not sure how long it’ll stay in top condition!

Finally, what is your score prediction?

With no disrespect to Woking, it’s a game we should win, particularly on home soil. However, it’s bound to be tough and after losing to Chester, we only managed narrow wins over Tamworth and Southport. We have never been particularly good against the bottom sides, either. I’m going to for 2-0 Bees with Lopez and Weston on the score sheet.

You can visit Lucy’s blog at – lookblacknamber.blogspot.com

Questions by Jacob Greenwood @JGreenwood91

Photo by David Holmes. For a full set visit wokingfc.co.uk

Come on you Cards!

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Hill praises Woking after ‘Great result’

By Jacob Greenwood

Garry Hill has paid credit to his Woking side after they kept a clean sheet and beat an in-form Gateshead side.

Woking took an early lead through defender John Nutter who grabbed his first goal of the season to set-up a good away win for The Cards.

Woking secured their win when Betsy provided an assist to John Goddard who doubled Woking’s lead and steered them 9 points clear of the relegation zone.

Reflecting on the game, Hill paid tribute to Nutter’s early goal and Woking’s attacking performance. He told the official website:

“It was a great lift for him and an ideal start for us. It was a great result for us.”

“We were very quick on the counter attack and we exploited them several times. It was a very good performance against a very, very good, hard side.”

Goddard celebrates scoring Woking's second
Goddard celebrates scoring Woking’s second

Woking take on Dartford at Princes Park on Tuesday evening, weather permitting, and the Cards’ boss knows it will be a difficult game despite their league position.

“All credit to Tony Burman and the players at Dartford they have turned it around recently. We are going to go there knowing it is tough. They haven’t had a game today so they are going to be fresh.”

“I’m sure we will go there with confidence after a good win at Gateshead.”

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

Getting to know the opposition – Forest Green Rovers

By Jacob Greenwood

Woking welcome Forest Green Rovers to Kingfield tonight as they look to extend their winning run.

Goals from Scott Rendell and Joe Jones saw Woking claim their fourth league win in March making it a perfect month for The Cards as they beat Wrexham 2-1.

Tonight’s visitors find thmselves five places and four points ahead of Woking when they arrive at Kingfield tonight. However, this will be a tough game for Woking as FGR have invested heavily in their side for this season and will be aiming for the play-offs.

Forest Green Rovers’ last six results –

Southport 2-0 Forest Green

Rendell puts Woking ahead at Kingfield on Saturday.
Rendell puts Woking ahead at Kingfield on Saturday.

Forest Green 0-0 Welling

Forest Green 2-1 Grimsby

Tamworth 1-2 Forest Green

Forest Green 0-2 Braintree

Forest Green 4-0 Salisbury

We talked to Richard Joyce @RichardDJoyce to find out more about the Gloucestershire side before we were due to play them at Kingfield in Febuary.
Forest Green were among the favourites to get promoted this season but have struggled in the league, where has it gone wrong this season?
 Consistency has been a major issue. Going into this weekend’s game is the first time Rovers have recorded back-to-back wins since November and it is always hard to predict which way it is going to go while our away form has been poor too. The squad is very strong but was still suffering a hangover of the disappointment of last season in my opinion where we went from being in the top three to drastically dropping to tenth in the final couple of months of the campaign. Subsequently that hangover ultimately cost David Hockaday his job in late October when team morale was pretty low. The players say they were not feeling the pressure of the ‘favourites’ tag being put on them but given Rovers have been nicknamed ‘moneybags’ by some it has made life difficult sometimes.
 
You have appointed Adrian Pennock as your first team manager, what difference has he made?
 The changes which Ady has implemented since getting the job a few months ago are just about beginning to show right now. He has added a lot of personality to the role which I know has been welcomed by the squad, so what he has done off the pitch has been fantastic to raise the morale of the team which was pretty low following David Hockaday’s departure. On the pitch however he has made the team much more of a threat. We continue to keep possession brilliantly but we are more direct with our use of it unlike previously when we often provided little threat despite dominating the majority of games. He’s brought in a number of signings including Lee Hughes who is probably the stand out one but he is eager to cut down on the squad too which isn’t the biggest in the league but remains quite large.
Betsy scores the opener against FGR last season.
Betsy scores the opener against FGR last season.
James Norwood has got 16 goals for you so far this season, will he be a player to look out for on Tuesday?
 James is a very explosive player and he finished as our golden boot winner last year with 15 goals so he is well on his way to beating that record. The great thing about James is not only does he find the back of the net but he creates goals for his team mates too. He is one of the fastest players in the league and I would not fancy being a defender if he was running at me and powering towards goal. So yes he’ll definitely be a threat on Saturday – Forest Green fans will be just hoping he remembers his shooting boots like he has done in our last two matches.
What other players have you been impressed by this season?
 
Marcus Kelly has been an absolute gem. Signing a one-year deal in the summer after a fair few years at this level it is remarkable that he is not playing in League Two. From midfield he has averaged a goal every other game pretty much this season and is very lively. Al Bangura adds a lot of class that saw him burst into the Premier League as a youngster while the impact of Lee Hughes of late has been great too. If selected at centre back, because he has recently been suspended, Dale Bennett has been a class act as well.
Finally what is your score prediction?
 It’s ambitious because our away form this season hasn’t been great (only three wins on the road) but I am going to go for a 2-1 win for Forest Green with our goals coming from James Norwood and Danny Wright. I can see Kevin Betsy getting Woking’s goal as he did against us once last season.
Questions & article by Jacob Greenwood @JGreenwood91
Photo by David Holmes. The full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk

Getting to know the opposition – Hyde

Woking go in to this Saturday’s game with real optimism around the club following the loan signing of Jack Marriott.

The Ipswich youngster played a crucial part in Tuesday’s 3-0 win against Dartford and claimed an assist and a goal on his debut. Marriott’s Impressive performance amongst goals from Scott Rendell and Joe McNerney gave the Cards their second home win of the season and a win on Saturday could see them leave the relegation zone.Loanee Marriott celebrates the opener

Garry Hill will be looking to do the double over a Hyde side who have failed to pick up a league win yet this season. Woking won the reverse fixture 2-0 in September with Kevin Betsy grabbing a brace to take the three points.

We caught up with Hyde fan @Jamie_McNamee ahead of Saturday’s crucial game at the bottom of the table to see if the Tigers fans are remaining positive –

With nineteen games played you have drawn three and lost sixteen, how has this season started so badly for yourselves?

The season in a whole has been dreadful so far and I think there are certain factors that have contributed to this. The first one is the phenomenon of ‘Second Season Syndrome’ mean that we do not have the element of surprise on a lot of teams in this league anymore. Without a doubt last season the end result as a team was much greater than the individuals placed within the team but on paper this season’s squad is stronger than last season’s. A second factor is our lack of goals, especially when we are on top in games. There have been several games this year where Hyde have started like a house on fire and in some matches have even taken the lead but then that inevitable opposition goal comes all the momentum in the team is lost. The Chester game last week was a perfect example of this. Take the lead early on with a tidy finish by Louis Almond and after near a full half of a barrage on the Chester goal the strike right near the end of the first half and Hyde never really got back into the game up until about five minutes to go being 2-1 down. One last factor is just general bad form by certain players. Our experienced pair of Will Haining and Danny Carlton have been dreadful, Tom Collins early season heroics have seen him demoted to the bench. I could go one but the only real high points this season is our performance against Nuneaton where we should have won that game comfortably but ended up with a 2-2 draw, the recent performance of Louis Almond and on loan goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux.

You were confident when we played you in the reverse fixture you would just about survive this season, do you think the squad are good enough and will pick up in confidence when they finally get a win?

Hard to tell if they will pick up in confidence when they finally get a win because reaching that elusivWoking celebrate their victory at Hydee first win seems so near but so far at the moment. We do play some good stuff at times but it is quite annoying at times when opposition fans of other clubs play you and say “I don’t understand how you are winless this year” I do think that when we win a match we will go on a little run of form but unfortunately I think Hyde’s fate in the Conference premier will all ready of been sealed by then.

In what positions have you particularly been struggling and can you see the squad being strengthened in January?

We have seen a chopping and changing at centre Half this season with a total of about 7 different players being played there whether through injury or poor form. The best of them being Glenn Belezika, who is on loan from Oldham. Up front we lack goals from Scott Spencer and Reece Gray who were massive in helping Hyde reach this level two years ago. Do I see us strengthening in January? Hard to tell, depends on who is out there but Hyde will not invest any real money to strengthen due to our tight player budget. I think we will have to get rid of some to bring others in is basically what I think may happen.

Who is likely to pose Woking the biggest threat on Saturday?

Louis Almond, he has been on a good run in the last couple of games. Tricky little winger who can chip in with between 10-12 goals a season at this level and could cause you back four and keeper a problem in the up and coming encounter. Reece Gray with his intelligent way of finding space and threading through balls could also be a real threat.

Finally, what is your score prediction?

Let’s be both bold and stupid here I’ll go with a 3-1 victory to Hyde to break our winless streak.

Questions and article by Jacob Greenwood @JGreenwood91

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

Come on you Cards!

Getting to know the opposition – Grimsby Town

Saturday’s game at home to Grimsby Town marks the start of a new month for Garry Hill’s side after a torrid October.

The Cards only scored one league goal in a month which saw them go without a win (excl Surrey Senior Cup) and go crashing out of the FA Cup at the first attempt to Luton Town.

November promises to be another tough month for the Cards and they start with a big game against Grimsby Town who have got off to an impressive start this season and sit in fifth place.

Woking draw a blank at home to Barnet in October.
Woking draw a blank at home to Barnet in October.

We talked to Mariners fan @TooGoodToGoDown ahead of their trip to Kingfield.

You had a very successful campaign last season but just fell at the final hurdle losing in the play-off semi-final and FA Trophy final. Did fans see this as a success and something to build on?

Absolutely. Historically Grimsby Town have spent more time in the Championship and League 1 than any other division. There’s an expectation – whether realistic or not – that we should be competing at the top end of the Conference. Last year saw us improve on the previous two and although we eventually ran out of steam and lost to Newport in the Play Offs, we looked like a team that would compete at the right end of the table. We’ve made some key additions, got a decent squad of players and it’s up to the players on the pitch to build on last year’s experiences.

 Being one of the ‘bigger’ clubs in the league and an impressive show last year, has your target been automatic promotion from the start?

Definitely. We have one of the biggest budgets and, in my opinion, some of the league’s best players. Anything other than promotion – whether automatic or through the Play Offs – would be a failure this year.

You took six points off of Woking last year scoring six and only conceding one. Has your squad changed much over the summer and who will we have to look out for?

Kevin Betsy in Woking's defeat to Grimsby last season
Kevin Betsy in Woking’s defeat to Grimsby last season

There have been some key additions, particularly in midfield. Scott Kerr and Paddy McLaughlin signed from York although only Kerr is likely to play. Scott Neilson is a fantastic winger who is likely to play on the left, fellow new signing Alex Rodman on the right. Ross Hannah has scored in his last four games and is probably our ‘danger man’. Liam Hearn, who scored 29 goals in 2011/12 before missing last season with a serious ankle injury, will likely start on the bench but is a seriously class act at this level.

Woking fans will be familiar with Aswad Thomas after his spell with the club, what kind of impact has he made at the club?

Aswad started like a train and was brilliant for the first half of last season, but ran out of steam and looked a shadow of the player. He started this season in a similar vein and things came to a head when he was sent off for violent conduct against Nuneaton. He missed a month’s worth of football and he’s come back in and been a completely different player. He’s attacked and pushed forward and defended well too. If he plays like that he’s a huge asset and will give Woking’s right hand side a tough afternoon.

 Finally, what is your score prediction?

We’re a little inconsistent and have a massive FA Cup game against Scunthorpe next Saturday which I suspect may be a distraction. Head says 1-0 to Woking, heart says 1-1 draw.

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!

Getting to know the opposition – Barnet

Goals from Scott Rendell and Josh Payne were enough to steer Woking to their first home win of the season against Nuneaton 10 days ago. This was followed up by an entertaining 1-1 draw on the road at Southport on Saturday.

Woking now face a tough task in Barnet, who were relegated into the Conference alongside Aldershot Town at the end of last season. With a new stadium and a fresh start they were many people’s choice to bounce straight back to the Football League but The Bees currently find themselves mid-table. We talked to Barnet fan and blogger Lucy Waldon to find out what is going on at The Hive.

Josh Payne celebrates his goal in Woking's 2-0 win vs Nuneaton
Josh Payne celebrates his goal in Woking’s 2-0 win vs Nuneaton

It’s been quite a while since you played in the Conference and the league has changed quite a bit, how have Barnet found it so far?

It’s certainly a lot harder than when we were previously in the Conference and there’s definitely more competition for the top places – but we never thought it would be easy. It’s been a bit of a mixed bag so far: we started well and then dipped in form a bit – hopefully that was just an early blip as we find out feet in this division. Last season we managed three points from our opening 12 games; we’ve already surpassed that this campaign and are close to reaching half the amount of points we managed to accumulate during 2012/13. Whilst it’s difficult, I’d like to think we have adapted well – we just need to play consistently well for a whole game and not just 45 minutes.

It’s been an indifferent start for yourselves which has left you 10th after 13 games, are fans staying patient with the players and managerial staff?

I think so. We managed to keep most of our players from last season and they’re really not a bad bunch. Jake Hyde was our top scorer and to net 14 times for a relegated side is no mean feat. We kept the spine of the squad, with the likes of Stephens and Johnson in defence and Byrne in the midfield – a lot of our players can definitely play higher! I think we just need a bit of luck and concentration and we’ll start amassing points.

Talking of the managerial staff, what impact has Edgar Davids had and can you talk us through his role at the club?

When he joined us last season, there was instant success – but it couldn’t have been much worse because our start was so poor. Everything just fell into place: we were scoring, the defence was a lot more solid and I think the team started playing due to his stature. There was a stat that said we would have made the play-offs if Davids joined us at the start of the season. I’m not too sure what his role is – the fans don’t know and judging by the Non-League Paper interview, the chairman doesn’t know either (which is worrying!). Basically, his title is ‘head coach’ and there are two other Dutch coaches who work alongside him. Assistant Uli seems to be the one who picks the team – and he’s the one that travels to the away games as Edgar doesn’t travel up north (there has been no reason given for this – and we are just as much in the dark as everyone else! I find it bizarre though!).

Who will Woking have to look out for on Tuesday?

Keanu Marsh-Brown – an outstanding talent who was recently linked with a move to Ipswich Town. He’s scoring for fun and a tricky winger who has bundles of pace. Centre back David Stephens is also a giant in the back four – and was voted last year’s Player of the Season!

Finally, what is your score prediction?

I’m going to stick my neck out and say 3-1 Barnet. We were unlucky on Saturday and poor decisions cost us. I imagine we’ll go behind early on and then pull it back in the second half. KMB to score twice and Crawford to come off the bench and chip in with a late goal.

You can follow Lucy on Twitter – @Luuuce_x

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!

Getting to know the opposition – Macclesfield Town

A brace from Kevin Betsy secured Woking’s second away win of the season on Tuesday at Hyde and only four days later the Cards find themselves back in the north-west in search of another three points on the road.

Woking celebrate during their 2-0 victory at Hyde
Woking celebrate during their 2-0 victory at Hyde

 This time Woking face a struggling Macclesfield team that are yet to register their first win of the season. However, the Cheshire side have a vastly experienced squad and will give Woking a real test. We talked to Macclesfield fan Ian Stewart @ianthenoodle to find out what we can expect from the Silkmen on Saturday.

Hi Ian, It’s been an unsteady start to the season for yourselves and has seen you yet to win a game, has this come as a surprise to Silkmen fans?

 It depends. The resources at Macclesfield have been low, and building virtually a new squad for the new season has been tough. But with the level of players with Football League experience and ability it has come as a bit of a surprise that the season has started so poorly.

The results have not been embarrassing; all defeats have been by a one goal margin, although in some of these defeats, the performance has been very underwhelming, defeats at home to Braintree and Alfreton stand out. And waiting for the elusive win is incredibly frustrating, especially when we were 2-0 up at Gateshead, only for the flaws in defending set pieces to be exposed enough for it to finish 2-2.

And against Luton, all set for the first win but we just couldn’t close it out. 1-1 with a 97th minute equaliser. It’s frustrating, but we have to persevere and keep the faith under such a small budget for this season.

 Despite the bad start, what are your realistic expectations for the season? Is reaching the play-offs still a requirement for many fans?

 I think many supporters would be surprised at a play-off place right now. But who’s to say it’s impossible? But realistically, anything but relegation is what the supporters want right now. A good run after the first win will certainly boost morale and confidence, but in such a competitive league, where even the part-timers, like Nuneaton, can compete with the bigger professional clubs. It’s tough to predict any outcomes, especially so early on. But right now I’d settle for mid-table.

The last time the two clubs met the game ended 5-4 to Woking, did this highlight inconsistency in the squad last year and if so has changed over the summer?

Betsy takes control vs Town in Woking’s 5-4 victory

 Yes. That game came just after our play-off chances were over, Steve King had been fired and a whole squad were paying attention to their futures now there was little to play for. John Askey had the tough job of motivating the squad, a squad that had indeed been inconsistent throughout the season. A squad that could face up to the eventual FA Cup winners, but could go 4-0 down at half time at home to Gateshead. This effectively summed up last season. 

Going 5-0 down to Woking proved how little had been delivered, the 4 goals back there showed we were unafraid to admit defeat,unfortunately though, there were times last season where it was admitted before the full time whistle. Quite a few names on the back of the shirts have changed, but a similar style of play has been imposed under Askey, but right now as before it’s not delivering results, and as a result, a more troubling consistency has arrived.

 

What players will Woking have to watch out for on Saturday?

The experience of Danny Whitaker, a veteran of the Football League will probably provide trouble in the centre of play, and down the wing. Left back Danny Andrew has probably been our best, most consistent and determined player so far. Never afraid to show pace and trouble with crosses, and have a go himself from outside the box, an effort in our 2-1 defeat to Chester on Tuesday rattled the crossbar, and the Chester ‘keeper as well!

Finally, what is your score prediction?

I hate doing predictions, tempting fate. Because Macc need that win so much, and this is a good example of a game which we have to win to calm fears of a dreaded relegation scrap. Such is the position Woking are in the league, 18th, this is a game where Macclesfield should be favourite but with Woking having won away on Tuesday, The Cards are sure to be fired up. And Macclesfield’s poor form is sure to motivate for yet another away win.

Tough to call, but I’ll say a 2-1 Macclesfield win.

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!

Getting to know the opposition – Alfreton Town

Woking travel to Derbsyshire on Saturday in search of their second win of the season. Things haven’t been going to plan of late for the Cards, who have lost their last three games, and they now face a tough game against Alfreton Town who boost a 100% home record so far this season.

Garry Hill now has a full-strength side to pick from as Josh Payne comes back from suspension. They also now boost further attacking options after bringing in Rodrigo Branco and Kema Darboe.

Betsy celebrates during Wokinga's 3-0 win last season
Betsy celebrates during Wokinga’s 3-0 win last season

I talked to Reds fan Ashley Wilkinson @WilkinsonAshley to find out more before our trip to the Impact Arena.

Hi Ashley,

After two solid seasons in the Conference Premier, do you see yourselves as an established Conference side now or are you still wary of relegation?

I’d say Alfreton Town are an established Conference side by any definition. They successfully avoided relegation in their first season, avoided that old cliché of “second season syndrome” and improved their position last campaign, and this one has begun with victories over very good Kidderminster and Hereford sides.

Relegation was probably at the back of some minds, but the Reds never looked in serious danger. They left it late to confirm their status in a very tight bottom half of the Conference Prem, but this season, despite reverting to part-time status, all the noises are about building once more.

What are your realistic expectations for this season?

 As I mentioned, Alfreton have reverted to being part-time after two seasons, which has inevitably meant cuts to an already shoestring budget. Despite that, Law has built what many think is the finest squad the Reds have had at the Impact Arena. The departures of key players like midfielder Anton Brown and striker Ben Tomlinson have been nullified; ex-Burton veteran John McGrath anchors the Reds’ midfield superbly and Tomlinson has been replaced with a number of hungry, young forwards such as Danny Wishart from Hayes and Yeading.

With that in mind, you would have to expect Alfreton to build on last season’s 13th. But with the side only training two nights a week, anything around midtable would be a superb accomplishment. I think the Reds will surprise a few this season.

You’ve won 3 and lost 3 so far this season, which include good wins against Hereford and Kidderminster, what is the mood among your supporters after six games?

 Home form at 100% and away form at 0%, it’s hard to have a more mixed start to a season! The home performances have been, without hyperbole, superb. Kidderminster were played off the park and the Reds really should have been four or five up against Hereford by the time Josh Law hit a 90th minute winner (they’d hit the woodwork three times). The mood amongst fans is one of cautious optimism, I feel. This has been, by and large, a good start to the season for part-time Alfreton and if Law can toughen up his defence and midfield on the road, you feel the Reds are capable of big things. Playoffs may be just out of reach, but with a bit more luck and some steel…who knows??

 John Akinde was trialling with Woking in pre-season but it was then revealed you offered him a better deal than ourselves, has he been a good summer signing?

 Akinde has been excellent since signing, and it’s clear this is a division below his level. He arguably isn’t at 100% and, given his record of 4 goals in 4 games (including a stunning hattrick against Kidderminster), you feel there’s still more to come. He’s become the focal point of Alfreton’s attack and, much as I hate the “good feet for a big lad” cliche, his composure on the ball does surprise given his height and build. He uses his strength to bully defenders, as all good target men should, and he doesn’t let it get taken from under him often. He wasn’t at his best v Forest Green and spurned several good chances inside the area, but you take a game like that for what he offers you in a game like Kidderminster.

Who else should Woking fans be looking out for on Saturday?

 McGrath, as mentioned, knows the non-league game like the back of his hand and will look to break up attacks before distributing out wide. Dan Bradley is an excellent “box-to-box” midfielder and is capable of killer passes, blinding runs and top quality goals, as is his wide-right man Josh Law. Nick Fenton is a man machine at centre-half and makes up for a slight lack of pace with a superb aerial presence. Keep an eye too on Wishart, who has come very close to opening his Alfreton account so far.

It’s Non-League Day on Saturday, do you think this will help boost your crowd?

 Possibly, and hopefully. Alfreton’s gates have fallen in recent years as ticket prices have increased, and with two well-supported league clubs nearby in Derby County and Burton Albion it’s difficult to get people through the gates. But Non-League Day, along with the fact that Derby are on an international break, will hopefully see a few more tickets sold.

Finally, what is your prediction for the game?

 Tough one. Woking picked up a great win at the Impact last season and finished just above the Reds, but the Cardinals have had a tough start to 2013/14. If I had to stick my neck out, I’d say Alfreton to continue their excellent home form and make it 4 wins from 4 at the Impact.

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!

Getting to know the opposition – Aldershot Town

With Woking facing local rivals Aldershot Town on Monday we talked to a fan from over the border to find out how they have fared so far this season and how he thinks the game will go.

Hi @LewATFC, It’s been a good few years since we found ourselves in the same league as you, it’s been quite a rollercoaster in the past 5 seasons for yourselves, hasn’t it?

We’ve had many ups in the Football League – reaching the playoffs in our second season and those memorable nights at West Ham and at home to Manchester United. We also have had many downs, ending our stay with relegation and then administration but things are looking on the up. I am looking forward to our season back in the Conference. There’s just something about this league which makes it special.

You came close to not starting this season at all after financial difficulties so you must be delighted that nearing the end of August you have chalked off some of the points deduction and signed a reasonably good side?

I am absolutely delighted with the way we have started. No one expected to get anything at Grimsby on the opening day. In truth we outplayed them and fully deserved all three points. The Dartford victory was great, pure attacking football with chants of “We’ve Got Our Aldershot Back” topping it off. From what we’ve seen so far, the squad looks very good, certainly a few talented players in there. Many have come down from the league above. Martin Rowlands is a huge signing having played for QPR, Brentford and Leyton Orient. Few others include Matt Paterson from Burton and Chris Barker from Southend United. However the squad is very thin and lacking any depth, the bench is full of hungry youngsters who will always fight for the cause.

You’ve decided to stay full time this season, do you think this will help you avoid relegation and potentially push up the league?

Although teams like Woking, Dartford and Braintree proved last year it is possible to finish well while part-time, I think staying full time would have been a must for us to be, at the very least, competitive this season. It also means we can attract players from the leagues above who aren’t willing to go part-time.

Woking fans will be familiar with Brett Williams after his spell at Kingfield last season, who else should we look out for on Monday?

I’d say the two centre backs – Jake Goodman and Adam Webster. For two young lads they have been vastly reassuring, solid at the back and have formed a very important partnership. Other than a penalty and an own goal we have only conceded once from open play. Webster is an England U19 international, having played for the U17s too, he is on loan from Portsmouth. Goodman is also on loan but from Millwall. He played a number of games for Luton Town last season too.

Finally, what is your score prediction for Monday?

Woking are missing three players through suspension and have struggled up front. Similarly, Aldershot are lacking that bit of quality in the final third. As I mentioned above, our defence has been solid and I can’t see where Woking will be able to score from. A goal either way could be the decider.

 

Aldershot Town 1-1 Woking.

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