Having missed just three games this season Alex Gudger has again been an ever-present and ever-dependable presence in Kevin Wilkin’s side and is currently in outstanding form. He scored his side’s crucial second goal in the win against leaders Salford City, his first of the season having notched seven goals in 2016-17. Here Alex talks to The Red & White about the season so far.
Captain Gaz Dean looks back on the week:
This week saw us draw 0-0 with Barrow at home, which was an opportunity for the group of players to test themselves against a team from the level above. I thought we played very well in the first half and dominated possession and they came into it in the second half, but we were compact and robust in our defending, and earned an impressive clean sheet and a replay. I will not lie, a replay away at Barrow on a Tuesday night is probably every semi-professional footballer’s worst nightmare after a morning at work and awkward conversation with your boss. However, it is also a hell of a long way to travel to come home empty handed, so it makes getting up for it very easy. Our preparations were not ideal as we did not arrive until 19:10. Sportsmen and women can be strange creatures at times and a lot of preparation is based on a fixed routine specific to each individual so this can upset players at times when the routine is broken. The game itself was played in atrocious conditions - it was a straight wind down the middle of the pitch that we played against to start with and we managed it really well. They had a few half chances from set plays but everything else was from distance and Danny's handling was perfect throughout. We managed the game second half with the wind and should have won more comfortably in the end.
We had a much needed rest on Thursday and were back at it on Saturday away at Tamworth, and to be honest it has been the story of our last month or so. We were electric from the start, moving the ball with real intensity but we missed too many chances in that first 30 minute period. We then conceded a goal and had to chase the game in the second half. The linesman made an obvious mistake just before half time in disallowing a perfectly good goal, which could have influenced the final result.
We have drawn too many games recently which our play and the chances created warranted winning. This needs to improve if we are to keep challenging with the best in the league.
This week has been a mixed bag of news for the playing and management team. We found out Jack Byrne has a serious knee injury which will require surgery and his season is now finished. Ratty is a tough character and still really important to the group at training and match days, his personality in the changing room will still help us achieve what we want to do this season.
On a more positive note, we have acquired Aaron's services for the remainder of the season. I have mentioned before, his record is incredible everywhere he has played in non-league. We are lucky to have him. Also we have signed Theo. Knowing Theo from Nuneaton and Solihull, he is as athletic as they come, powerful, strong and quick. He also has a winning mentality which will add to what we already have. The fans will warm to him as he has been a firm fans favourite everywhere he has been.
Next Saturday we have a huge fixture against Salford, so I hope to see a packed house and lots of noise. Again thanks for your continued support, see you at the weekend.
Last season Shane Byrne was one of Kevin Wilkin’s most influential and consistent performers. This has continued again into 2017-18 with Byrne in outstanding form and among the goals too. Here he talks to The Red & White about the season so far and what comes next.
Read the latest thoughts of captain Gaz Dean:
Where to start? The Christmas period always springs up some surprise results. Everyone saw this period as an opportunity to make a significant push in the league table, three games against opposition which we would expect to beat if we applied ourselves correctly.