Following the Q&A evening held on Tuesday 5th February at the Victoria Ground with the management team of Bren Kelly and Andy Mason, here is a write up of the night…
One of the first items to be addressed at the evening was the whereabouts of certain players. Manager Kelly cleared up the following players were currently getting game time at other clubs on loan.
- Marcel Simpson (Walsall Wood – still registered with us)
- Jack Cresswell (Racing Club Warwick – still registered with us)
- John Pykett (Stourport Swifts)
- Aaron Roberts (Played 90 minutes at Studley but still our player)
- R’Mar Murray (Stourport Swifts)
- Tom Rankin (Lichfield City – a one off 90 mins)
Bren did say that striker Ashanti Pryce had moved on after the Worcester City semi final.
“He has lots of good qualities for an 18 year old lad, but we didn’t feel we could offer him minutes,” Bren said.
“He needed game time to work on what he needed to work on. He behaved well and was very professional.
“We tried to get him other clubs but we are not sure what other option he took.”
Bren also said that Jake Heath would be returning to the squad soon, having had two months out to work on a business venture.
Bren also disclosed the latest on defender Aaron Roberts
“There is no rift between us. He lives and breathes this football club. He went through a spell when his confidence was on the deck and was getting caught out of position.
“He was trying too hard and we told him to go back to basics – he played well against North Leigh and Didcot (the abandoned match) but then he dipped again.
“He will be back. Nothing that I have just said isn’t anything I haven’t said to his face. We need him to concentrate on his defensive duties and not be so keen to be involved with our attacking play.”
On Jason Cowley
“He is the complete centre forward. Jason agrees little bits of his play need improving. We realise how good he is and we are hoping to guide him.
“It’s great to see him firing on all cylinders and playing with a smile on his face.
“He’s asked me to help him. He needs to be settled and focus on one thing.
“He had a great pre season at Telford but it would have been brave for Gavin (Cowan – Telford manager) to have taken a chance on him.
“He was sent off down the road (Alvechurch, League Cup) but now he’s playing well because he’s focused. He loves the place and players and we have become close since the situation with the Nuneaton Borough stuff last year.”
When asked about the striker penning another contract, Kelly said: “I am planning to sit down with him in the next couple of weeks.”
When asked about whether Cowley is sometimes trying too hard, Kelly commented: “I don’t mind that in a striker – you need to be selfish and shoot on sight. There is no problem with that or greediness.”
Bren also kept the audience updated with the latest on the injured Will Shorrock.
“What we initially thought would be 8 – 10 weeks out is now looking more like 12 – 14 weeks.”
He said that he is likely to visit an expert physio at the Orthopaedic Hospital in Selly Oak, saying that the bone hasn’t healed as well as first thought after the operation.
He added that Kieren Westwood has come in and has felt as though he has played well.
Bren had this to say when asked about the decision to move Josh Quaynor into midfield early on in his tenure.
“I never fancied him as a left back. His ability to pick a pass and his past experience in midfield meant it made perfect sense to put him in midfield.
“He has been a revelation. We are pleased with how him and Nathan have maintained their performance levels.”
Bren was asked about Daniel Morris, after he was substituted at half time versus Yaxley after an uncharacteristic error just before the interval that led to a goal.
“He was upset and it was not right for him to play second half. He has gained us more points than he has lost. A great servant.”
Has the leadership issue been addressed?
“It’s daunting going into the unknown on these pitches we have never played on before, against better players.
“When we haven’t got possession is the most important thing. For instance, if we’ve got a corner, I’m more concerned about the back three and are we prepared for a counter attack.
“Mentality is the big issue and it does need to be addressed.”
The topic of preparation for games arose, starting with whether we look at ‘Plan B’s’ if required.
“We have been working on our inside play when wingers are ganged upon, with the winning goal vs Peterborough Sports a big example of how we mixed it up.”
Bren also talked about the difficulty of having other teams watched and previewed.
“It’s difficult with only three Midlands teams in the league. Me, Cameron Stuart (Coleshill manager) and Neil Tooth (Sutton Coldfield manager) are in a group chat and we swap information.”
“Me and Andy try and network as best as we can to garner information on other teams – we have asked AFC Dunstable for some information ahead of Bedford.”
Bren on the makeup of the squad
On new additions: “We need to be very careful about players we want to bring in. We ask ourselves what’s our best shape and we work on the training pitch for that shape.
“In the summer, we were careful about who we wanted to bring in. Hayward has offered steel, Dowd is exciting and with Pykett, Murray and Quaynor, we knew our current style is the way forward with personnel we have.”
On keeping all players happy: “It’s with great difficulty; everybody wants to play and I tell them they could be needed at any time through injuries and suspensions.
“I’ve told them If you become a bunch of friends by the end of the season, you’ll be successful.”
Different challenges at this level
Bren commented: “Physically, teams are bigger than us but our skilful players have a low sense of gravity, so it doesn’t concern me.
“Slight troubles defensively but we will address as we see fit. We want people who can play football, not big cavemen; but we will bring players in if needed.”
A new coach after Kev Barry’s departure?
Bren commented: “There aren’t a lot of sessions that he’s done that we can’t do. We still keep in touch and we miss the military element he brings, but the lads are well drilled – in a sense, he’s still here!
“At the minute, we are okay but it may need addressing. I believe he is gone for 36 months. We will be picky and choosy.”
Andy Mason on opposition playing at the Victoria Ground
“It’s unbelievable. They love it. They put 10 men behind ball and raise their games. It’s a big occasion when they come to the VG.
“You are our 12th man. We haven’t lost and it’s down to you. We want to entertain you and I hope we are achieving that.”
Bren Kelly comments on his own ambitions
“Maybe my standards are too high? I know what it takes and I know we’ve got it in us.
“Maybe I’m too hard on the lads. My long term goal is to take club to full time. We can’t stand still; we need try to evolve all the time.”