After a disappointing defeat to Hartlepool United last Saturday, Aldershot Town look to bounce back with another home fixture and a Hampshire Derby against Eastleigh FC on Tuesday evening.
Hear what First-Team Coach Michael Koopowitz had to say in full:
Q: Mike, back at home against Eastleigh, your thoughts ahead of the game?
“Yes we come off the back of a disappointing result, I still thought that we did positive things in the Hartlepool game. In terms of going to the next game, we look to implement what we started.
“We were quite strong in the opening parts of the game and I think Anwar mentioned in his post-match interview about extending that period of time instead of just doing it for initial parts of games or in moments. We need to prolong that period and do it for 90 minutes and that’ll be the challenge tomorrow.”
Q: Has that been the incentive over the course of training, just trying to make sure the boys are ready for these sort of games and extending it?
“Of course. It’s been tough this season with the congested period so it’s not quite as easy to always work on things immediately. But we made the boys aware in the meeting this morning, went onto the pitch and carried on the principles that brought us success early on in the game.”
Q: It’s the first game for us in a little while with the return of fans and everyone coming back, it’s a positive in what we hope is a turn in form this week.
“Obviously we’re all delighted that the fans are back. I think most people would’ve seen the FA Cup (Final) on the weekend and the emotion it brought to the game. The connection between the players, the management and the fans was there to be seen, so we’re hopeful for something similar.
“Also it’s been a tough season for the boys and it’s been almost, not nothing to play for, but everyone plays football for the fans and with them in the stadium, it’s certainly going to bring a bit of extra motivation for the boys.”
Q: Interesting for us to have four home games in a row, does that affect preparations at all?
“I would say no. I think the whole season’s been like that. I think more the Tuesday/Saturday and the continuousness of that, the challenge managing workload, I think four home games we can look forward to that.
“We don’t have to worry about the travel, but whether it’s home or away it’s part and parcel of football. I mean we have to adapt.”
Q: With Eastleigh, we come up against a side that have an outside chance of a play-off spot, so we’ll be hoping to have our say on whether they stay or don’t go into the play-offs or not.
“There’s quite a few teams vying for those last couple of positions and they’re (Eastleigh) in and amongst that. However, I don’t think we take that into account.
“In all of our interviews, I think we’ve pretty much been focused on ourselves, making sure that in the team meeting it’s about building on something, improving our good things, eliminating our weak things and hopefully we can do that again.”
Q: Of course, it’s a Hampshire Derby as well, so there’s a little bit more incentive to perform in front of the fans as well
“Of course. It’s always nice to play in a derby. We’ve done quite well against them in the past 3 games we’ve played, so we’ll look to continue that.”
Q: Injury update – injury-wise, how are players looking? A few players missed out on Saturday.
“So at the moment, Finney’s looking good, he’s not going to be back in time before the end of the season, but he’s back in training.
“Josh (Rees), let’s say it’s not a serious injury but serious enough for him to probably not play another part in the season.
“Noubz (Joel Nouble) is touch-and-go. It’s probably looking Saturday (against Bromley) more likely than tomorrow (against Eastleigh) and I think that’s it.”
Q: Of course Alfy (Whittingham) was back on the bench on Saturday too, so hopefully he’ll get more minutes under his belt when the time is right
“All the boys they are there to be ready, if they want to put themselves in the position to be starting, they’ve got to take their opportunity.
“All of them will get that opportunity going forward but it’s also worth noting that the boys who have been playing have been doing their job really well and that’s why they have kept their place in the team.
“For us, as I said and as Anwar has said and as the gaffer has said in multiple team meetings, it’s about can we extend our success for longer periods during the game.”
Q: We drew 2-2 at their place and will feel a bit unfortunate to come away from there with just a draw that day
“Look that game was very frustrating from our point of view. We came off the back of a good win at Dover and we went into the game and started really well, got a bit unfortunate with their penalty, they went up, we scored directly after that and we were in the ascendency throughout the game.
“A lapse of concentration at the set-piece, something that we’ve worked on from that point onwards and like I said in the earlier questions, we’ve done really well against Eastleigh and we know what they’re about.
“We’ve researched them thoroughly and hopefully we can impose ourselves on the game.”
Q: They come into it after a 3-0 win against Barnet, so they’ll be going into the game full of confidence
“They’re a strong outfit, a strong opponent. I think that they’ve won four of their last five, having only conceded three, so they’re a team that’s really pushing for that last play-off spot and our job is to make sure they don’t get any joy out of the game.”
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