Points the key, says manager Bobby Wilkinson
HUNGERFORD TOWN head into Saturday’s home game with Eastbourne Borough holding second place in their first season in the Vanarama National League South, but Bobby Wilkinson is paying no attention to the league table as he remains focused on securing the team’s place in the league.
“It’s points, not places I want,” he said, “and it just means it may be another 30 points to go to hit our target and I don’t want people to get carried away.
“Football can turn on you at any time and just kick you up the butt. Anyone can go five games without a win and then it’s panic stations.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for people to enjoy it and the players deserve every credit for what we’ve done so far. But we’ve got to keep out feet on the ground and concentrate on just proving that we deserve to be in this league and stay in it.
“If we do that, it will be my biggest achievement in football and the players and club’s as well.”
Hungerford have settled quickly, but different challenges are coming thick and fast and on Saturday they face an Eastbourne Borough side that has lost both games away from its own 3G surface but comes as a potentially potent force, according to Wilkinson.
“We’ve watched them and they are a hard-working side who know what this league is about. Powerful and they had lads who seem to be about 6 foot six!!
“It will be a tough one for us.”
Wilkinson believes that the best is yet to come from a number of teams in the league, and that has contributed to his own side’s good start. “A lot of them have a number of new players and they are still gelling, but they will gel.
“But we look organised and look like a team that has been playing together for a couple of years and it shows. But we’re on a roller-coaster and it is important that we get points on the board whenever we can.”
Wilkinson has been quick to make a bank of changes during matches and will continue to do so when needed. James Rusby and Alan O’Brien while goalkeeper Paul Strudley, defender Harry Grant and forward Devontae Romeo have been farmed out to Thatcham, Hayes and Yeading and Marlow respectively to gain game time and remain subject to recall as Hungerford have a week off after Saturday’s game before returning to the twice-a-week programme that resumes at Dartford and at home to Hemel Hempstead over the Bank Holiday weekend, and then with treks from one end of the country to Margate and Truro in the space of 72 hours.
MOST bookies have Hungerford as narrow odds-on favourites to win Saturday’s game - a first for them this season - and bet365 Skybet and Betfred all have them at 10/11 with Eastbourne 12/5 or 23/10 and a 12/5 the draw. The correct scoring odds are fascinating, however with 8/1 available for Hungerford to win 1-0 and a 1-1 draw at 6/1.