Defence forms foundation of Wokingham & Emmbrook FC's runBy Adam Lee
September 12, 2012
Wokingham & Emmbrook boss Roger Herridge has lauded the efforts of his young defence as vital in maintaining the Sumas four-game unbeaten run.
Herridge has had the advantage of naming an unchanged back five, including goalkeeper Garry Aulsberry in all of those games, and he believes that has been a major factor in their success.
Full-backs Alex Walton, aged 21, and Jack Gibbs, 19, as well as centre-backs Callum Eagle, 20, and James Rusby, 23, have conceded just three times in 360 minutes of football.
And Herridge even suggested that club captain Tom Hopper, who has taken time out to run a fundraising ultra marathon in memory of his friend Captain Stephen Healey, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in May, could have trouble getting back into the team.
“We want to make sure we’re hard to break down and teams are going to have to play well if they want to beat us,” he said.
“Even without Tom Hopper in the side, defensively we are very solid and that gives us a solid foundation to build on.
“Callum and James have been absolutely outstanding in the centre of defence and have had a really good understanding in the last few games.
“I said at the start of the season that Alex Walton could become one of the best full-backs in the league, and the first eight games of the season have shown that is the case, while Jack Gibbs has also been very very good.
“If we can keep a settled defence it’s half the job done and that is good for Garry (Aulsberry) and good for the team as a whole.
“Before Tom went away he knew he had competition for his place, but likewise the guys know they will have to keep playing well to stay in the team because come the end of the September he’ll be chomping at the bit to get back in the team.”
That back four, however, will have to change for Saturday’s FA Vase tie with Highmoor Ibis at Palmer Park (3pm kick-off) as Gibbs is unavailable.
Skipper Dave Bellis is also likely to miss the game, although Herridge can now call upon the services of strikers Luke Lee and Matt Jones, as well as Sam Dufellen.
n FOR MORE information on Tom Hopper’s charity run, visit www.justgiving.com/Tom-Hopper