Tunbridge Wells boss Keith Bird: As soon as we can get everybody fit and everybody available I think we’re going to do very, very well

Thursday 03rd September 2015

TUNBRIDGE WELLS boss Keith Bird says he is suffering from an injury crisis at the moment.

The club were dumped out of The FA Cup in the Preliminary Round, losing 2-1 at Croydon in a replay last night.

The two sides drew 1-1 at Culverden Stadium at the weekend and Croydon keeper Francis Ameyaw was outstanding at Croydon Sports Arena, leaving Tunbridge Wells frustrated.

Tristan Toney gave Croydon the lead four minutes into the second half, before substitute Ian Parsons’ curled home an equaliser with fourteen minutes left.

But a mistake by Tunbridge Wells’ right-back Gary Beckett gifted the ball to Toney inside the box and his centre was swept home into the bottom left-hand corner by winger Jamelle Hudson.

Bird said: “If it hadn’t been for their keeper, I think the result would be very different!”

Bird has returned from his three week cruise and has lost both of his games in charge, the other being a 2-1 home defeat to league leaders Corinthian on Bank Holiday Monday, a couple of days before their shock FA Cup exit.

Tunbridge Wells are in tenth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League table on 5 points (one draw and two draws) from as many games.

They welcome fourth-placed Ashford United to Culverden Stadium in the league on Saturday afternoon.

“Ashford are a good side,” said Bird.

“It’s a chance to meet Danny Lye and Shaun Welford, who were with me at Cray Wanderers.  I’m looking forward to seeing them again.

“I think they’re going to be good managers, they’re a good team, they’ve played together for years, they’ve always been a team together and I think that camaraderie and that relationship will put them in good stead.”

Bird revealed that he is suffering with an injury crisis at Culverden Stadium at the moment and insists results will pick up as soon as players jump of the treatment table.

He said: “We’ve still got a lot of players out. I think as soon as we can get everybody fit and everybody available I think we’re going to do very, very well.

“It’s a good squad, it’s a good team spirit and we’re disappointed (to lose to Croydon) but we’ll bounce back on Saturday.

“I think the only question mark for us is when we can get the whole of the squad back ready and back for selection and I think we’re going to do very well.”

Bird had a makeshift central defensive partnership at Croydon last night with Andy Boyle partnering Jason Barton, while Jamie Lawrence sat in front of them as a holding midfielder.

“Our initial problem was we didn’t have any strikers for the first four or five games because Chris Seenan got picked up by Whitstable just as the season was about to start and Andy Irvine was out injured so we were in scramble mode at that point and we tried to improvise with some players and it didn’t work for us.

“As soon as we get Chris back and Andy’s starting to come in back from injury, Chris gets injured after his first game and we lose Brad Potter to Cray Valley.  Perry Spackman gets injured and Ollie the youngster, who’s been doing very well for us, is ill and so we’ve run out of centre back options.

“Andy Boyle, who is a talisman at Tunbridge Wells and has played the game for a long time and coming to the end of his career and we don’t expect to have Andy play 90 minutes and he’s just had to play two or three 90 minutes games over the space of about six days and was probably one of our best players.

“Jason Barton has had to step in to be the other centre back as well so we had to improvise there but I though they both did well.

“I think we’ve been unlucky up top initially and now in the centre half positions but hopefully now we can get players back soon.”

Visit Tunbridge Wells’ website: www.tunbridgewellsfc.com

Tunbridge Wells  v  Ashford United
Southern Counties East Football League
Saturday 5th September 2015
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Culverden Stadium, Culverden Down, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 9SG