Wokingham & Emmbrook look ahead to FA Cup tieBy Adam Lee
August 31, 2011
Wokingham and Emmbrook go into Saturday’s FA Cup preliminary round game with Kidlington at Larges Lane on Saturday (3pm kick-off) high on confidence and in excellent form.
Roger Herridge’s side comfortably beat local rivals Bracknell Town 3-0 on Monday to make it three wins and a draw from their last four games.
Herridge, with a near full-strength squad to choose from until the university year starts next month, has the ability to rotate his squad, and the strategy is paying dividends at the moment.
But Saturday’s opponents Kidlington will prove to be a much sterner test than the young Bracknell team they face on Bank Holiday Monday.
Goals from Garry Sargeant, Luke Lee and Dean Thomas earned Wokingham victory over their landlords, and coach Darron Wilkinson is hoping the team can continue that form in the cup on Saturday.
“We’ve got a big week and some hard work ahead of Kidlington on Saturday,” said the former Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder and Slough Town manager.
“Because we have such a young side not a lot have played in the FA Cup so if we can pass on some experience of that and try to take each round as it comes, you never know.
“Every season a non-league club comes in and does well.
“It’s a long shot, but you never know.”
Monday’s derby was hardly the most inspiring of contests.
Both sides worked hard, but on a difficult pitch failed to get the ball down and play as much as they would like.
Wokingham, though, were deserved winners, carving out plenty of chances and denying Bracknell a single shot on target all game.
And Wilkinson paid tribute to the work that the defence has put in, singling out centre-back Ashley Mitchell for special praise.
The former Reading academy player was a outstanding, and his partnership in the centre of defence with Tom Hopper has helped Wokingham boast the second meanest backline in the division after the first month.
But Wokingham will have to do without Hopper for Saturday’s game with Kidlington as the skipper will be unavailable.
“We knew that Bracknell would make it difficult for us and they did and we couldn’t get out of second gear all game,” said Wilkinson.
“We were disappointed with the performance, we weren’t on top of our game, but you can’t be good every week so we’ll gladly take the three points.
“Ashley Mitchell was a different grade on Monday and him and Tom Hopper have got a good partnership going there.
“We’ve worked on our defence in training to try and get a soild base there.
“We need everyone to have a solid understanding because we have to chop and change each week because we have lads going to university.”
Wokingham’s situation is quite a strange one in that six players will head off to their respective universities when the new term starts in a few weeks.
It is a predicament that Wilkinson has never had to face in his 25-year career, but he still feels the squad is strong enough to cope.
He said: “We’ve got some good young lads here, it’s just a shame that they’re so bright that they head off to university – university wasn’t an option when I was playing!
“There are some good players and we have to work even harder when they’re away.
“You need an education now to move on and we can’t get in their way.
“It’s difficult to try to keep everyone happy because we haven’t got a reserve team, but we’re giving players as many games as we can.
“There were some lads that did really well on Saturday who weren’t in the team on Monday, but they were still there encouraging everyone else to do well.
“If we’ve got a good squad off the pitch, the banter is there and everyone is trying to help each other along, then we’re on the right way.”