PRE-MATCH TALKING POINTS – Hampton & Richmond (h) by Chris Wade


Chris Wade – @TufcChris

Chris discusses talking points ahead of the Cup game at Plainmoor


After what has been, let’s face it, a fairly miserable first phase to the season, we get our teeth into the FA Cup against Hampton and Richmond this Saturday at Plainmoor. We haven’t had a Cup run for a while and this feels like as good a time as ever to get going in the most famous Cup in the world. There is also a significant financial incentive for a club of our size to proceed to the first-round proper of £9,375. In these financial times of all times, that would be most welcome.


Quite frankly, I have absolutely no idea who will be available to play at the weekend. We are losing players injured game after game. Dan Martin limped off after 15 minutes at York after getting a whack stretching for the ball, and Ryan Hanson took a whack in the face (again) and had to be withdrawn at half time. That followed the midweek injuries to Kieron Evans and Ryan Marshall. It just feels never ending. There is also uncertainty around some of the loan players, although it looks good for the newest arrivals Chinwike Okoli and Dillon De Silva after their midweek interviews on the official website. Both impressed on their debuts at York and will be looking to build on that in their home bow.


A fast start on Saturday, more than ever, is key. When you are struggling, confidence is a fragile thing and the last thing that we need on Saturday is to fall behind early, when all of the self-doubt and fear will return. That said, holding leads has been a problem of late, so now would be a great time to learn the art of game management. An early goal would lift the whole stadium and give the players the belief to power on against lower league opposition.


Playing teams from lower divisions is always both dangerous and what you want. There really isn’t an excuse for not wining these games in reality, but they can also be quite tricky. Hampton and Richmond are a team whose games have featured plenty of goals, scoring 15 and conceding 16 in the National League South. And we have scored 9 and conceded 23, so a high scoring game is certainly a possibility. The chopping and changing in selection hasn’t helped continuity and consistency of performance, but Gary has to come up with a winning formula this weekend.


For a whole number of reasons, winning is basically the only option for this cup tie. For the finances of the club, for the belief of the supporters, for the confidence of the players, and quite possibly most of all, the job of the management team. It is hard to envisage a situation where the manager can survive a home defeat to a team in the league below whilst being bottom of the above after thirteen games. Everybody has their own view of where the line is on the future of our much-loved Gaffer, but Saturday 15 October feels huge.


Whilst we all crave a nice straightforward afternoon, it may not end up like that. It could well be tough and the players will need our backing. So please get to Plainmoor if you can and your finances allow, and please support the lads as best you can. This Saturday could be remembered as the turning point, or the end.








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