22nd August 2018 |First Team News | Views

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Following our positive start to the season, Ashford United manager Gary Alexander tells us how he’s feeling in the run up to the August bank holiday weekend double header versus Horsham YMCA (FA Cup) and Faversham Town (Bostik League South East).

“I’m very happy with our start, 6 points from 6 in the league with tough games against Hythe and Guernsey, the latter being very tough due to the travel and early kick off. Credit has to go to the lads for competing well in the 1st half then running out comfortable winners in the 2nd, it’s not easy to get straight off a flight and play. Guernsey is a difficult place to go to, I’m sure they will be picking up plenty of home points once they get into their flow.

On to our loss to Thamesmead in the Kent Senior Cup, some people may have questioned my team selection but we have a 19 man squad and lads need minutes as well as trying to keep lads fresh so between myself and staff I feel we made the right choices. Seeing the youngsters show character along with a couple of more experienced players to fight back only to lose on pens gave me some positives after a poor 1st half, showing we as a club expect better in terms of performance and effort no matter what team is put out in any game.

To travel away as a group is always great and brings great spirit. When we were building this squad, we were looking at players who would fit into our ethos and they had to have great spirit, and I’m sure most here have fitted in great. With character being a big part of how we work, just one bad egg can ruin that, so spirit and togetherness is vital as things can change over a season with forms dipping in and out, so people have to wait to take their chance, and when that opportunity comes, they have to be ready. I feel the boys’ togetherness is there and will only get better as we all get to know each other even more.

This weekend, 2 games in 2 days will test us. The Emirates FA cup is always a great competition to play in, so of course we want to progress as for any club at this level it can bring much welcomed income. With a game 2 days later at home against Faversham, who I’ve seen play and who look very strong physically and fit, I am expecting a very tough game just like the opening game, another local derby. These are great fixtures to be involved in so if we can come out of the weekend with 2 good results it will make me a very happy man, but we know it won’t be easy.

I hope we see bumper crowds for both matches this weekend as not many teams at this level have the support and loyalty that we do, we are very lucky to have that at Ashford so hopefully we can go even better to the opening game. This club can really come together and draw bigger crowds in, you can all play your part by getting behind the lads and showing your fantastic support once again.

Enjoy the weekend and hopefully we can see you all there smiling at full time!”