Hi David – so how would you summarise your season so far?
We turned full time at the start of this season after several years of being part time. Results began well – at one point we beat the then league leaders three games in a row (each time we won a game, the leaders dropped down and were replaced by our next opponents). The start had put us fairly comfortably in mid-table but wins became more difficult to achieve.
Even then we continued to rack up some victories away from home, keeping well above the wrong end of the table. Early exits from the FA Cup (to a Horsham team well below us in the pyramid) and FA Trophy didn’t help and league form suffered further. The conclusion was reached by the club’s owners, albeit with some disagreement from part of the Board, that the manager, Alan Dowson, should be replaced.
Assistant Manager Ian Dyer was asked to honour his contract and stay on while a recruitment process was carried out, and Darren Sarll was appointed as Woking’s manager on 28 March.
How’s the Cards’ recent form been?
Recent form has picked up. Ian Dyer oversaw four clean sheets with three wins and a draw during his brief tenure, and Darren Sarll began with an away win at Boreham Wood – the first time we have beaten them in eleven years! We were very unlucky to get no points from a trip to high-flying Halifax last weekend and there is an air of optimism around the club.
What’s been the highlights of your season?
Dowse turned up a gem in pre-season with the signing of Tahvon Campbell who moved to Rochdale in the January window for a rumoured six figure sum after costing nothing. The match highlights were probably the three wins in succession over then league leaders – Chesterfield, Notts (by 1-4 !) and Dagenham. The form of leading scorer Inih Effiong (15 goals and 7 assists in all competitions) has been a positive, as has the contribution of the experienced Max Kretzschmar (12 goals and 7 assists). Scoring four at Notts and (sorry to remind you !!) Torquay were memorable performances too.
Who are your key players and why?
Inih for scoring regularly, and providing goals as well, Max for his huge work rate – he regularly tops the distance covered stat in a game – plus goals and assists also. Rohan Ince has added much quality in midfield.
Was it a surprise to see Alan Dowson leave?
This is a difficult one for me as I had a very close relationship with Dowse – I interviewed him well over 100 times for the club website over four years. I’ll just say that, by the time, it happened, it would probably be disingenuous to suggest that it was a surprise.
How’s Darren Sarll settling into the role since joining from Yeovil?
Darren has said many times already how pleased he was to get the job at Woking as he feels it is a club where he can write a story. He’s also said that he’s very much a coach and, (I found this interesting) he very much focuses on improving a player’s positive attributes further rather than working on any deficiencies. I’ve watched training and he does a lot of one-to-one talking, explain and cajoling. He clearly has immense technical knowledge and thinks deeply about the game.
How does Sarll like to set the team up?
Darren has stated that he’s very much in favour of a 4-4-2 line-up.
XI last time out – Ross, Casey, Champion, Kretzschmar, Nwabuokei, McNerney, Effiong, Johnson, Oakley, Longe-King, Anderson
Where’s best for the Yellow Army to seek pre-match food and drinks?
Assuming the game will be segregated (putting the club bar ‘out of bounds’), there are a variety of very reasonably priced pubs (for Surrey!) in Woking town centre within easy reach of the train station eg Wetherspoons, O’Neills, the Junction Tap and the Sovereigns. There are all the usual fast food outlets in the same vicinity, again very near the station.
Which opposition teams and players have impressed you most?
Many of our losses have come by one goal and even then with very late winners, so we’ve actually done rather better against most of the teams in the league than the bare facts seem to suggest. For example, I imagine most of your opponents would say that Stockport would be the best they’ve seen. While they clearly are to be feared, we only lost by one goal each game. A rather left field answer would be to say that Wrexham are probably the best team we’ve played, but on current form rather than when we played them. We have that ‘pleasure’ again in a couple of weeks!
And finally, what’s your prediction for Friday’s game?
Clearly I can’t tip Woking to lose so I’ll go for 2-2.