The Managers Preview
We caught up with Glebe Pumas manager, Sam Pilger, for his thoughts coming in to the game.
You were in the Tandridge B Division last season, how did you feel the season went?
It was another rewarding and enjoyable season. After coming up from the C Division, we had a slow start in which we suffered a lot of injuries and our goalkeeper left mid-season, but then we finished strongly on an unbeaten run of 13 games, winning 12 and drawing once to finish as runners-up in the league a point behind the winners, and secure promotion to the A Division.
After back-to-back-promotions, have you strengthened your team since last season?
Yes, for this season we strengthened the squad with the arrival of 4 new players, who have all started very well.
What are your aspirations for the team this season?
This is our very first season in the A Division, so we are looking forward to the challenge of proving we belong in it.
You had two close results in your last two games (3-2 defeat to Junior Elite, and a 3-2 win over Elite Development). Were they fair results?
I think they were probably fair results. We could have beaten Junior Elite, but didn’t take our chances in the second half. It was a frustrating result, but Junior Elite are a talented side. Last weekend against Elite Development was a real battle against a big and physical side, but the boys played very well to deal with that and secure a win with some impressive football.
Was there anything you changed or worked on in between the games that you feel made a difference?
Not really, and in fact we didn’t actually manage to train in between those two games. Against Junior Elite we were missing 4 important players, so their return for the win against Elite Development certainly made a difference, but in both games the boys gave the same effort.
Who are your players to watch?
I’m reluctant to pick out only a couple of individuals as, overall, I think we are very much a squad who rely on every player.
Thank you to Sam for taking his time to speak to us and we also spoke to Oaks manager Mark Archard.
We’ve started with two wins against two under-strength opponents first two weeks, scoring 10 in each. Obviously the numerical advantage helped but it must be pleasing to see goals coming from different players?
It’s nice for lots of different boys to be getting on the score sheet and, to be fair, could of been more boys and more goals but we can’t just go gung-ho! We have 2 boys, Liam and Toby, with 6 goals each already but the assist is just as important as the goal, you have to remember that.
Glebe look to be contenders for honours, so we can expect a tougher test. How do you get players focused for it?
Glebe are a fantastic set up and will be a completely different challenge, well organised and structured and have started the season well. I think, with the group of boys we have, the sky's the limit and I expect big things from them all, from back to front. We need to focus in all of these areas and, come what may, play our own brand of football. There’s a real team feeling about our side and we have the ability to destroy teams as well as work a team to death with our movement, passing and physicality.
Riley was Player of the Match last game, playing at Right Back, what was it that deserved the credit?
Riley was MOM last game for sheer work rate, his runs both covering in defence and attacking and he never pushed on and kept our shape and put some fantastic balls in. People always praise a striker for scoring and they get all the accolades but the lads at the back and in midfield are just as important.
Last week’s game was called off, due to a waterlogged pitch. Any worries about lack of match time affecting players?
It’s been difficult, both with myself not being available on a Wednesday for training and with the light fading so early, but the lads all play football at school and do various other fitness events. 90 minutes on a Wednesday evening is never going to make you a James Milner or such, but the boys know they need to take themselves out running and keep their fitness levels high.
Looking forward to a cracking spectacle Sunday and I’ve no doubt the boys have what it takes to get the 3 points on the road and on to a huge Sussex cup game away to Hastings.