In a series bound to be… sporadic, whenever Bury come up against a side in a cup competition they don’t normally play, I’ll be looking to do an interview with a fan of that team. The first is with Jacob Greenwood, a huge Woking fan and founding editor at Everything Woking, a completely unofficial blog dedicated to all things Cards.
Woking have been in the fifth tier since 2012. Given the extension and restructure of the play-off system, do you think this is the year they can be in contention for a place?
A top-half finish with an outside chance of the play-offs was the aim stated at the start of the season by Woking’s manager Antony Limbrick and our start reflects that. Despite three successive losses, Woking sit 8th in the table and well positioned for the rest of the season. Despite this, Cards fans aren’t getting too far ahead of themselves. Last season Woking stayed up on the last day of the season, so it is refreshing to see the club heading in the right direction.
We’ve never been in the Football League, but as long as we are in The National League, that has to be a stretch goal. With the two up, two down system between League Two and The National League, it isn’t easy to reach the promised land.
What’s happened to the mooted takeover/investment?
Ha – the million dollar question! There is nothing official, and very little unofficial, about this in the public domain. The club are still seeking investment but it would seem most of the promising leads from over the summer have gone cold.
What do you make of the overall job Anthony Limbrick has done since his appointment in May?
This is a real learning curve for Anthony as it’s his first ‘proper’ managerial job and because of this I think he was always going to be given time. The players speak highly of him and there have certainly been some good results. However, as I mentioned before we have lost our three matches (and only just squeezed past Concord Rangers in the last round of the FA Cup). This has been disappointing and it will be interesting to see how he responds as a manager to this.
What’s been your favourite ever Woking match in the FA Cup?
Woking have a pretty good FA Cup history in sem-recent times, beating Millwall and taking Coventry to a replay in 1996/97 was a good, but very distant memory. We beat Stockport County away last season and that was a very enjoyable match, as we were in poor form and Stockport were really up for that game.
Do you share the perception some football fans have that the FA Cup has ‘lost its magic’ over recent years or is still the same as ever, particularly from a non-league perspective?
Very much so, and that is a sad reality. I think every year you see reminders of why it is so important but a game such as Sunday’s, 15-20 years ago, would have been a lot bigger occasion. Non-league is no longer full of plucky sides made up of plumbers, taxi drivers and teachers. The National League is a professional, mostly full-time league with some big fish in a small pond. For example, in recent years we have had Bristol Rovers, Tranmere Rovers, Leyton Orient, Luton Town and Wrexham all visit Woking with decent followings. With that we have a lot of games against ‘big clubs’ in the league now. 20 years ago, I don’t think this was the case and you wouldn’t only ever play ‘proper teams’ in the cup.
Are there any plans to extend Regan Charles-Cook’s loan deal from Charlton Athletic? He’s looked impressive from attacking midfield for the Cards.
That would be great if we could! However, Charlton are understandably very interested in him and he has played first team football there this season. It is a catch 22 because if he does well with us Charlton will want him back sooner.
Who would you suggest to Bury fans can do the most damage in the red, white and black?
Joe Ward, Inih Effiong and Jason Banton are all dangerous when in form. Ward is a pacey winger who likes to cut in and is similar to Banton. Effiong is a big, strong centre forward who will always cause problems. However, his finishing can let him down and for that reason Jamie Philpot has stated up front in his place.
Considering the spate of injuries, recent downturn of league form and Bury sacking Lee Clark, how confident are you now of a result compared to when the draw was made?
One of the things about the cup is league form goes out the window and it is 11 versus 11 – that is what I am telling myself anyway! If Bury turn up expecting an easy afternoon, they may be in for a shock. However, I am sure they will be professional in their approach. Quite simply, if Woking defend the way they have in the past few weeks and Bury have their shooting boots on, it could all be over very quickly. In many respects this encounter is a bit of a free hit for us. Nobody expects a win, so we will hopefully just enjoy a good game.
Check back on Friday for my in-depth preview!