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Aylesbury United News Story

Q & A with Ben Williams

Tuesday 06 February 2018 - 11:39 am | Added by: Ian Pluck to 21cd, First Team, Club News | |

Prior to the quiz night starting, Ben was invited to give his view of how things have gone since he took over as manager, his thoughts for the future and answer any questions that the supporters may have of him.

Ben started by giving an overview of his time as manager so far.  It has obviously been a bit of a roller coaster so far, with a number of changes to the squad, some important team members leaving and having to hunt around for satisfactory replacements.  However, after a sticky start, not helped by a number of postponements and the fact that the fixture list threw up a number of games against teams at the top of the table, things started to fall into place with a win at Barton.  The team is playing to his style and results have improved, as has the league position.  The focus is on catching teams above us in the league, not worrying about what is below us.

Ben is looking at his squad and starting to make plans for next season.  He believes in signing players that are local to Aylesbury, as long as they are good enough to add something to the squad.  The development team managed by Greg Smith and Pete Chilcott has a number of players who could potentially make the step up to the first team and some of them are training with the first team squad on a weekly basis.  He is very keen to give youth a chance, but they have to have the quality and commitment to join the squad. 

Ben stressed that he has been involved in one way or another with the club for many years and is keen for the relationship to continue to thrive, developing the club both on and off the pitch, hopefully seeing a return to playing in Aylesbury before too long.

Following this, the floor was opened to questions from supporters.

Q1.      Can you explain the goalkeeping situation at the club?

BW:     As we know, Jack Sillitoe sustained a broken bone in his foot at Uxbridge, leaving the club with just one fit goalkeeper in Michael Chalmers.  Cover was obviously needed, so on a number of recommendations, Mo Sampat was signed last week and has experience of playing at this level for his previous clubs.  Both Mo and Michael were asked to come to training before selection for Saturday’s match was made, but only Mo was able to be at training, so in line with the club policy that if you don't train on Thursday you don't play on Saturday, Mo was selected to play in the match.  What happened on the pitch can happen to any player, mistakes are made, but being a goalkeeper, quite often mistakes are critical.  However, there is no criticism of Mo after the game on Saturday, he was distraught after the game and has been in touch with Ben a number of times to apologise for his error which led to the second goal.

Q2.      Is having no physio for the first team a concern, given the injury sustained by Jack Sillitoe?

BW:     Yes, definitely.  I am capable of carrying a medical bag on to the pitch, but it does distract from my job as manager and can make decisions difficult to make at times.  The club are aware and discussions have been had to solve the issue.  We do have a physio available, but only for midweek games as he works on a Saturday.  We are looking at a partnership with a local company for them to provide match day and treatment cover, but costs will have to be found from the existing budget.  One possibility is offering work experience on a matchday for ex-students, but this is not an ideal situation the club is in and it has been a perennial problem.  We will continue to investigate options and possibilities.

Q3.      How many players do you get training midweek?

BW:     Last Thursday there were 21 players training, including 4 or 5 from the development team on 1/3rd of the pitch at Stoke Mandeville.  This is far from ideal, because although we can practise set piece moves (corners, free kicks) it only allows a limited opportunity for tactics to be worked on and the team will suffer because of it.  There is a problem locally getting adequate training facilities, we have discussed training on a different day to try to get better facilities, but those discussions are ongoing.

Q4.      Why only 3 substitutes on the bench last Saturday?

BW.     Basically down to keeping within the weekly playing budget.

Q5.      Are you concentrating on locally based players?

BW:     A number of our players are local or very close to Aylesbury.  This makes it easier for them to get to Aylesbury for training and I would like a core of local players going forward.  There are a number of good local players that we would like to get involved in the squad next season, which will hopefully bring more interest from supporters wanting to watch the team.

Q6.      What are the plans for the Development Team for next season?

BW:     Ben invited Greg Smith to share his thoughts as the manager of the team:  There is a commitment to Tring Corinthians to play there again next season.  The current squad has improved results since the turn of the year and a number of players are knocking on the door of the first team squad.  For next season, we will be looking to bring through some members of this year’s U18 team as part of their development.  Greg stressed though that watching the first team squad and their commitment to training and on match day is commendable and is something that the development team need to match.

Q7.      What is the injury situation with the squad?

BW.     Apart from Jack Sillitoe, the remainder of the squad is fit and available for selection.

There being no further questions, an enjoyable quiz night then commenced.  A big thank you to Ben and Mike Hogg for offering to come along and meet the supporters, a sign of his willingness to communicate with the fan base as often as he can, as also shown by his updates on the club website since taking over as manager.