TT OPPOSITION BLOG
Rob Hemingway – @rob_hemingway
It’s only been just over a month since Torquay and Woking last met, but the Cards’ season looks altogether different than it did back then.
The FA Trophy semi-final defeat to Hereford last weekend has left a big cloud of uncertainty over the club in recent days, with questions about how to balance the short-term requirement to fulfil meaningless league fixtures with the more important longer-term objective of full-time football next term.
There was so much hope and excitement going into last weekend at the possibility of a Wembley final, but Alan Dowson’s men never got going against lower league opposition who seemed to benefit from having scouted Woking for a month – without Woking being able to do the same given the National League North’s annulment.
The manner of the defeat was what hurt the players and management the most and – together with everything else that’s happened this season – it was enough for skipper Josh Casey to tell me that this season has been the worst of his career.
Boss Alan Dowson has said the same on a number of occasions, and I really hope all the players and management get a good break over the summer given the toll this year has taken on them.
From a journalist’s perspective, it’s been a very different way to cover the season.
Match days, chats with the manager in his office, meeting the chairman for coffee – things I’ve been used to doing have all gone.
Not being at games has made it particularly hard to get a real feel of how the club is performing, particularly in away games where the online streams never give you the nuances of the play that you get from the press box.
At least I’m due to be back at The Laithwaite Community Stadium on Monday for the visit of Notts County.
But whilst I fully appreciate how lucky I am to be there, I do feel for the fans that won’t be.
Now to the action on Friday at Plainmoor.
Dowson has said he wants some time to think about what he does with his squad, so I’m expecting Woking to still field an experienced side, with perhaps some youngsters on the bench.
That latter scenario is even more likely to be the case given the number of injuries to the likes of Jamar Loza and Sam Ashford.
I don’t think February’s meeting will have too much bearing on the outcome given the disparity in home vs away form, the fact both teams’ mindsets have changed significantly since then, and lastly that the teams may well have a number of different players in the starting XIs.
I’ll go for a hard-fought 1-1 draw!
For more Woking news, I’d love to hear from you on Twitter: @rob_hemingway