We’ve enjoyed a exhilarating run so far in this seasons FA Trophy progressing past some tough opposition in Slough, Maidstone, Bath and Leamington. Royston will present a whole new challenge to us when we will clash this Saturday in what’ll be a cracking cup tie.
We took some time to catch up with our management contingent ahead of this huge fixture to tease their thoughts.
Over the years, we’ve had a torrid run of luck with the draw in this competition. Status wise Royston represent our weakest challenge to date, but how will you be preparing our players to expect possibly our toughest test this term?
“Status wise they might be, but we are also, on paper, a weaker challenge than some of their victories, most notably against 2 full-time Conference National teams. As we all know, football matches are not won on paper, and whoever applies themselves more on the day, makes the right decisions at the right times, usually wins. We will prepare our players as we normally do, with information on the opposition and a believe that if we perform to our maximum, we have a good chance of progressing. The players have risen to many challenges on this cup run – replays, postponements, late goals – hopefully this is the next one achieved.”
Lee Minshull, Assistant Manager
With some inspirational performances to choose from, who for you has been our stand out player of the competition so far?
“That’s a tough question to answer as it’s always difficult to pick out individuals. I think the pleasing element is that there have been a few players that have had some great moments throughout the competition. In the first couple of rounds it was the substitutes that made the biggest impact. Firstly, Decarrey away at Slough was outstanding when he came on and changed the game, then away at Maidstone both Lamar and Greeny scored late on after coming off the bench to win the game after being 2-0 down. Then we had Noubs memorbale late winner away at Bath after Blanchys through ball, so there’s been a few although I felt like we have played more FA trophy games than league games… I think as it’s fresh in the memory if I was to pick one I would have to pick Haighy. As you boys are well aware I wouldn’t normally choose our goalkeeper but, on this occasion, he gets my vote. Firstly, Away to Bath at 1-1 he made 2 great saves before half time which allowed us to go in level which was vital. Then there was the pen save at Leamington. That will live with me forever. Not just because the save he made during the shootout, but the events that occurred during the game. After taking a serious knock to the head during the second half, (in reality, shouldn’t have continued) he somehow got through it, made himself a hero with that save and gave us that magical moment. It’s been a special competition for us this year so let’s hope we can continue the amazing journey we have had so far.”
Adam Drew, Head of Player Recruitment
This round of the cup will be decided on the day, so how well prepared are we for the potential of extra time and penalties and how important is the players fitness levels in games like these?
“Fortunately we were in that same situation in the last round vs Leamington. Extra time and penalties, so the players know exactly what is expected to get through to the next round. With a demanding schedule at the moment the players fitness levels are good, the squad is a youthful one and they spend most of their time conditioning themselves. We have to manage the training programme around this time to make sure fatigue is not an issue and manage any injuries as the demanding schedule can take its toll. Overall the mindset of the team is good, hopefully we can get the job done in 90 minutes to avoid extra time and penalties. It’s a great day for everyone involved in the club so sit back and enjoy the day.”
James Roach, Coach
With many to mention, what has been your most memorable moment in the trophy run so far?
“There have been numerous memorable moments that we can take away with us, Kresh’s winner at Slough, Greeny’s free-kick at Maidstone, Noub’s goal against Bath, but for me it has to be Haighy’s save in the penalty shoot out against Leamington. The game was a rollercoaster of emotion in itself which peaked at that moment. To have your joy built up and knocked down countless times during the game, only to finish on a high, sprinting onto the pitch to celebrate it with the team, home support and youth teams. I think that moment epitomised all of the hard work that goes into the club, on and off the pitch.”
Nathan Church, Coach
Visiting Royston are expected to bring between 400 & 450 supporters to the Aspect Arena for this Quarter Final clash. What message do you have to the local population to help support our club and spur us on to success Saturday?
“Saturday will be a wonderful occasion for the club, and in the traditions of Concord being a family club, it would be great for as many local people to come along, cheer on the boys, and be part of what will be an historical day.
Without doubt the boys will need every bit of support possible, and with Royston bringing a few it will be a great atmosphere for the quarter final.
Everyone involved with the club really appreciates all the support and the value this can have on Saturday driving the boys on, and if we can get over the line then all that come along will be in for a memorable day.”
Scott Wagstaff, Opposition Analyst
And finally one for our father and son unsung heroic partnership.
With your average home game arrival time throughout the season at an impressive 10.30am, what time can we expect our kit men to arrive this week with so much at stake?
“I told my Jack we will be there at 9 on Saturday… I won’t tell you his response.”
Darren Leech, Kit Man
Our management team were talking with Jack Junior.
FA Trophy Quarter Final
Saturday 29, February
Concord Rangers v Royston Town