After their 3-0 win (home to Woking) and a 3-0 defeat (away to Yeovil) over Christmas, Aldershot Town make the short trip to Kingfield on Saturday to play their first match of 2021.
In association with LV BET, Rob Worrall previews the game:
Lewis Kinsella, Craig Tanner and Ross McCormack continue their rehabilitation and Skipper Jamie Sendles-White is a doubt after picking up an injury late on in the Woking game. Latest signing Ricky Miller will also be hoping to get his first appearance in a Shots shirt following his announcement on New Years’ Day.
Name: Woking FC
Nickname: The Cardinals
Cards Manager: Alan Dowson
Stadium: Kingfield, aka The Laithwaite Community Stadium
2019/20 National League Final Position: 10th (when season ended). Awarded 10th position on Points Per Game (1.44)
50-year-old Gateshead born Alan Dowson, is now in his third season in charge of The Cards. He was a defender in his playing days, who made 55 Football League appearances for the likes of Bradford City and Darlington, before moving into Non-League, with Slough, Gateshead and Walton & Hersham. He spent 11 years with The Swans, the last three of which he also managed them, before switching to another management role with Kingstonian. In his second full season with The K’s, they won the Isthmian Division One South. They made a couple of play-off appearances in the Isthmian Premier but after the second of those in 2014, Dowson resigned. He was soon back in management, with Kingstonian and in 2015-16, he led them to the Isthmian Premier League title, scoring 105 goals. In 2018, he was appointed Woking manager and they finished runners-up in the National League South, came from behind late on to beat Welling in the Play-Off final and secured promotion to the National League. Last season Dowson steered the Cards to a highly creditable 10th place finish in their first season back at National League level.
Key departures from Kingfield over the summer included Godfrey Poku and Moussa Diarra to Havant & Waterlooville, Shaun Donnellan (Maidenhead United) and top scorer Jake Hyde, who signed for FC Halifax Town.
Dowson oversaw a fair amount of player movement in the close season, as just 10 Cardinals from last season remain. They include, Keeper Craig Ross, Defenders Jack Cook, Josh Casey & Ben Gerring plus long serving midfielder Kane Ferdinand and former Premiership midfielder Matt Jarvis. He also kept forwards Max Kretzschmar and Dave Tarpey.
Including loanees, the Cards have 17 new first-teamers this season. However, that total does include four youngsters that have stepped up from their Academy side. Their most eye-catching signings have been the return of ex-Shot John Goddard, for a second spell at Kingfield and Midfielder Charlie Cooper (FC Halifax Town). Dowson also brought striker Jamar Loza back to Woking (from Kings Lynn) for an undisclosed fee and he made his debut at the EBB on Boxing Day.
Much like last season, Woking have started the season in good form but following their Boxing Day defeat at Aldershot and 0-0 draw at home to Eastleigh, they now sit 10th in the National League table with 21 points from 15 matches.
Saturday’s referee is Peter Gibbons who has refereed 3 National League matches this season, showing 14 Yellow Cards and 0 Red Cards.
Woking FC will cover the game with their with their Live Stream and BBC Radio Surrey Sport will also be covering the match with live online commentary from Mark Francis.