Captain Gareth Dean welcomes in 2020 and reflects on recent weeks:
Happy New Year all! I hope you had a fantastic Christmas with families and friends and also great New Year celebrations.
It has been a while since I wrote some words, so it is tough to know where to start. This time of year is always a hectic period and we have had to endure huge amounts of travelling through the month of December. This being said after travelling 1100 miles and playing three games in a week away at Farsley, Guiseley and Blyth, we came home with 7 points. This set us up nicely moving into the busy Christmas period. Next up was Curzon Ashton and we didn’t play our best in truth, we had to be patient in our shape and wait for our time to turn the ball over and attack with pace.
On a personal note I had a Grade 2 calf injury in the last few minutes of this game which has meant missing both the 28th December and New Year’s Day fixtures. I think I would be right in saying it is my first soft tissue injury in ten years, so it has been a frustrating period. We have two great physio’s within the group in Rich and Matt, who have joined in during pool sessions and running sessions to make sure the recovery process is as quick as possible. They are top blokes!
I find watching football a lot more difficult than playing it but I am exceptionally proud of the boys who again dug in against a very good Kidderminster team to win 2-0. Special mention to Danny Lewis who was brilliant against his former team, it was the best goalkeeping display I have seen at this level for a long time.
New Year’s Day was a completely different game. Kettering are in fine form and are a powerful, experienced, physical team. Again Danny Lewis was brilliant in both halves and I thought defensively as a group we dealt with a lot of balls in the air and set pieces. Pitches this time of year start to churn up so you have to adapt and find ways to pick up points and we did this in this game. It wasn’t a pretty game of football but we have showed an efficiency in our play which enabled us to pick up a valuable point.
In terms of the group, we have lost Wes York recently from a horror tackle away at Guiseley. It is a real shame because Wes was a breath of fresh air. He is so quick and direct and formed a great partnership alongside Lee. I have known him for years from our Nuneaton days and I don’t think you will ever hear anyone say a bad word about him. His attitude is first class, as is his energy and application. Hopefully he can play a part in the latter stages of the season for us.
Defensively for the first half of the season we have been second to none at this level. Ellis and Connor are having great seasons, which is pleasing, particularly for Connor with the injury difficulties he has had over the last two seasons. And then Thierry has been brilliant, in both boxes. He is putting me to shame with the number of goals he has scored, he is always in the right place at the right time. Defensively he has also been a rock and together we have formed a strong partnership and understanding.
We have managed to score more goals than in previous seasons, the attacking players have really stepped up recently. None more so than Lee Ndlovu. Lee has been in a rich vein of form. He has so much potential. He terrorises defences with his sheer power and strength and at times he is unplayable. I am so pleased for him and in my opinion he should go close to the National League North Player of the Month award for December – we shall see.
Finally, thank you for your support throughout 2019. It is much appreciated and we will need more of the same during 2020. See you all soon.