Rooks boss Tony Russell reflects on Monday’s derby win against Bognor Regis Town and looks ahead to this weekend’s big clash with Bishop’s Stortford.
“Last week’s game against Bognor Regis panned out how we thought it would. I think that was the best prepared we had been for a game this season. We had a great session early on New Year’s Eve, worked on some ideas that would create chances and we saw that in the first half of the game. At times we were carving them open at will. Our patterns were good, the movement was excellent.
At the Fans Forum I said how special Ryan could be and I think we saw glimpses of that in the first half on Monday – he got us the penalty with a superb touch of the ball and was then in the right place at the right time to grab the second himself. For the majority of the half he was electric. But it wasn’t just Ryan. I thought Hydie had his best game for us and he’s another one we will see more from him as he becomes more confident in that role.
We came in 2-0 up and felt we could have scored more. But we knew that by pressing them so high up the pitch we would leave ourselves slightly open and I thought we did well at the back. You can’t really plan for a goal that their forward scored – it was a wonder goal but that was the only time Lew was really called into action. We should have put the game to bed earlier – JT goes one on one, Razz hits the bar then the post – either of those efforts had they gone in would have been talked about for years.
The positives were another win at home and the energy the players showed. Many would have thought the players would be a little sluggish coming into the game with only one match being played in three weeks and off the festive period, but the stats we saw from the GPS vests were off the charts – Bradley Pritchard ran over 12km for instance.
Not every game will be as entertaining as that. We’ve seen this season a lot of teams come here and won’t give it a go, prepared to go toe to toe with us but I can guarantee we will always try to attack and entertain.
Onto Saturday and the trip to Bishop’s Stortford. There’s two or three really tough away trips and this is undoubtedly one of them. It’s going to be tricky – they are unbeaten at home, which includes a 4-1 win over Hornchurch before Christmas. They are hard to play against but we have prepared as best we can and if we want to consider ourselves seriously as promotion candidates this season then we’ve got to go to places like Bishop’s Stortford at stand up and fight. Whilst we know they will be direct and pepper the box with balls it is important that we try to play our game – it isn’t just about stopping them.
We will need to be brave and we are short on numbers after picking up a couple of injuries on Monday but we have brought in Ryley Scott from Dagenham & Redbridge on loan. Ryley came out of the academies at West Ham United and Ipswich Town before joining Dagenham at the start of last season. He’s a great young midfielder (21 years old) and he’s been someone I’ve been tracking for awhile so he will be in the squad on Saturday.
We know it will a tough game – we have a lot of respect for Stortford but we go with a mindset to win. I know we will be short on numbers in the crowd because of the train strikes but for those who can make it I hope we give you something to shout about.”