The games are coming thick and fast now as we come back to Stonebridge Road for the second time in a week before another away game in between a clash here with Margate on Easter Monday.
You’ve no doubt read or heard my reaction to Tuesday night’s game from various sources and I’ll reiterate here that I wasn’t happy with the second half and the players know that was below the level we expect of them and indeed they expect of themselves. There were a lot of chances missed after the penalty, and even at 1-1 so late in the game, we still had the chances to make it 2-1 and we didn’t take them.
They made a couple of changes after the sending-off but with 10 men it shouldn’t have been about what they did but what we did and it’s dis-appointing how we retreated into ourselves during the last spell of the game.
We didn’t risk Danny Kedwell for the whole 90 minutes on Tuesday but we gave him half an hour to try and unsettle their defence, hold the ball up a bit more and with Charlie Sheringham having had 90 minutes on Saturday and put another good hour’s shift in Tuesday, we didn’t have many striking options.
I’m hopeful that will change now that Bradley Bubb has trained Monday, Tuesday and Thursday this week. He should, barring any reaction to those sessions, be available for selection today. Since the last two weeks of pre-season, we’ve had injured players having to go straight back into the team at the first available opportunity. Under normal circumstances, that wouldn’t happen. They’d take a while to get properly fit and we’d be able to work with them more before throwing them into a competitive situation, but we’ve managed the injuries up until now and should see that walking wounded list ease somewhat.
Darren McQueen looked lively when he was introduced but he’s still young and inexperienced at this level. In the absence of more experienced strikers, I didn’t want to put him under too much pressure, heaping everything on to his shoulders to be the one to lead the line and score the goals.
But he’s skilful and he has talent; he’ll get used to this level and he is definitely going to be an asset across what is a long season. He mixes it up, he’s a bright player and he attacks the space in behind if there’s a high defensive line, while he’s good enough to drop off and get the ball in front of a deep defensive line. The more options we have up front as we approach the next few weeks, the stronger I’m sure we’ll become.
I’d like to welcome Dean Brennan and everyone from Hemel Hempstead. Dean’s a manager I know and respect. They’re a new side with a lot of changes, including four ex-Whitehawk players. I spoke to Dean last week and he’s got a few injuries as well. He’ll be looking for them to improve and get more points on the board and I’m sure, like most decent sides at this early stage, they will.
Our job this afternoon is to produce the first hour of football against Whitehawk across the full 90 minutes, that’s the key thing and that’s what I’m looking for. I’m not too disappointed with eight points, it’s not a bad start, that doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is the last 20 minutes the other night and its consequences. That’s not the standard we set and that’s got to improve.