We’re going through a bad patch and we’ve got to stop moping around, says Tonbridge Angels coach Justin Luchford
TONBRIDGE ANGELS coach Justin Luchford says they will work hard on the training ground tonight to bounce back from more Cup disappointment.
The Angels were dumped out of The Velocity Trophy (Isthmian League Cup) by Hythe Town on Tuesday night, losing 5-3 on penalties after failing to convert a number of chances during a goal-less Second Round draw at Longmead Stadium.
Steve McKimm’s side have been knocked out of three Cups by First Division sides this season, losing to Faversham Town (FA Cup), Heybridge Swifts (FA Trophy) and now Hythe Town.
The Angels are underperforming in eleventh-place in the Bostik Premier table with 21 points on the board from 15 league outings, seven points adrift of fifth-placed Billericay Town.
Luchford demands a reaction from his side when they travel to sixth-placed Staines Town on Saturday.
“We’ve got to get back to the drawing board, get back to work on Thursday night. We’ll re-group, there’s no point dwelling on it,” said Luchford.
“We’re very disappointed we’re out of the Cup but ultimately it wasn’t a League game.
“The gaffer will work hard, myself and Barry (Moore) will support him and work out what we need to do on Thursday to prepare ourselves ready for Saturday.
“The lads are downbeat at the moment but you can’t keep moping around, you’ve got to make it happen and the one thing I’m looking for from Saturday is a performance, not necessarily a performance that we’re keeping the ball, one-touch passes for a goal.
“What I want to see on Saturday is, I want to see what the gaffer’s teams are all about since I’ve been here with him, which is working and giving everything they’ve got and working their backsides off and if they do that on Saturday, he’ll have no complaints, we’ll have no complaints and we’ll come off the pitch and hopefully we’ll have some points on the board.
“We can’t worry about the league table at the moment. We have to worry about who we’re playing in the next game and picking up some points. The league table is irrelevant at the moment.
“We’re going through a bad patch and we’ve got to stop that. We’ll worry about the table later on. We’ve got to get some points on the board and breed some confidence and get the players thinking they’re going into games with a bit more confidence.”
When asked if players’ confidence levels have dropped, Luchford admitted: “I think it is, they’re getting punished for every mistake they’re making but we’re definitely not doing things we’re asking them to do particularly well.
“We’ve got to knuckle down and do that but if they do that bit and work hard then they’ll get their rewards.
“As with anything in football, if you’re not getting results on the pitch your confidence is going to be low and it always going to have that niggling doubt in your mind but we’ve got to put that behind us and be upbeat in training. We’ve got to work hard and get on that coach on Saturday, get up to Staines.
“If we can do what we can do really well, which is working hard on and off the ball and we can back each other up and get some leaders back out on the pitch that are geeing each other up and not waiting for the gaffer, me or Barry to scream at them but to scream at each other a little bit to make them give them that extra five or ten percent and then Staines will know they’re in for a game on Saturday.
“It’s fine margins. If we nick a result on Saturday everything changes. You get a win away from home, you get three points, you climb a couple of places in the table and all off a sudden you go in the next couple of games ‘hang on a minute, have we turned the corner?”
McKimm picked up a couple of injuries against Hythe Town inside the opening 14 minutes with Luke Blewden (knee) and Chris Kinnear (groin) going off injured and the pair are expected to be ruled out.
McKimm has today signed Tom Jelley, a defender who won the Isthmian Premier title while at Hampton & Richmond Borough.
Two players have come in on a month’s loan. Striker Bradley Steventon comes in from Sky Bet League One side Gillingham and midfielder Ryan Worrall arrives from Eastbourne Borough.
Steventon scored three goals while on loan at Bostik South side Cray Wanderers earlier on in the season.
McKimm Tweeted: “Very disappointed having to release a good player and even better person, worst part of the job. Excited about the three new signings, (you) sink or swim by making decisions.”
McKimm parted company with five-goal striker Andre McCollin, who missed the Angels' only penalty in the shoot-out against Hythe Town.
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Staines Town v Tonbridge Angels
Saturday 11th November 2017
Kick Off 3:00pm
At Wheatsheaf Park, Wheatsheaf Lane, Staines, Middlesex TW18 2PD