Kingstonian v Horley Town: Pre-Match Briefing
K's manager Hayden Bird previews tomorrow's big FA Cup tie against the Clarets
Who would have thought as we left the stadium on Wednesday 11th March, that Kingstonian would not return to competitive football until Saturday 12th September?
Tomorrow's FA Cup game with Horley Town is officially the first day of the season and our first competitive fixture in six months! With this in mind, the Official Website caught up with Manager Hayden Bird for the latest team news.
Q: Are you happy with the pre-season preparations?
HB: Yes, I'm delighted with the squad. The attitude, application and desire of the players has been very impressive. The new players have settled into the squad, understand our methods and the quality in the team has been very evident.
Q: In the Ramsgate and Tonbridge Angels fixtures. we included two young players in the squad. Teo Kurtaran and Kevin Nyarko?
HB: Yes, we wanted to take a look at both players and I am delighted both of the lads signed last night, as did another promising young player, Jay Bradley. As a Club, we have ambitions to improve on last season but equally, we want to develop young players in the process.
Teo, Kevin, Jay and Lewis are all good enough to play for Kingstonian. I trust them as players and they will all play their part this season.
On the flip side, Ben Harrison has gone on loan to East Grinstead. Ben is a part of Kingstonian but is now playing in a position with fierce competition. The loan deal will help Ben return to his best. Both in terms of his form and his physical condition. There is no doubt that Ben Harrison will create stiff competition for Fabio and Tom when he returns.
Q: What's the team news tomorrow?
HB: We have five missing tomorrow through injury. Ollie returned at Cobham and played exceptionally well. He's had a slight set back which is nothing serious. Cookie should return to training next week.
Tom Howard, Andre Coker, Kadell Daniel all have minor injuries and will not be available to play. Thankfully, Harry's injury last week is not as serious as we feared and returned to light training this week. Fabio returned to training on Thursday, so we will make a late decision on whether he starts tomorrow.
Q: Are you worried to be without such key players?
It's obviously not ideal to start the season with these injuries but equally, it's not something that concerns me. If it worried me, I wouldn't be making it public!
We have a strong squad at Kingstonian, with genuine strength in depth. The quality in training last night was at the standard we are looking for and the team are ready. Injuries will not be any form of excuse this season.
Q: What can we expect from Horley Town?
HB: Anthony's team will provide difficult opponents. There is no doubt about that. They have players who can hurt you and a team that looks well organised. This is not a game we are taking lightly. Having enjoyed amazing memories in the FA Cup last season and been ninety minutes from a 3rd Round tie at Sheffield United, we want to go one better this season.
The memories of Dartford, Macclesfield Town, AFC Fylde and Football Focus will be a great motivation for us. If we want to reach those heights again, we need to be completely focused tomorrow and get the job done.
Q: Many have tipped Kingstonian for promotion this season.
HB: As flattering as that is, lets add a little perspective. When the season was declared “null and void” we were placed in 10th. Worthing were top and 15pts ahead of us, if we won our games in hand. Equally, Carshalton Athletic were in the final Play-Off position, placed in 5th. Again, if we won our games in hand, we were 6pts adrift of them. My point is a simple one. It’s rare to bridge such a gap in one season and as a Club we must continue on the same path and manage our expectations. My focus is to continue to improve. Predictions are dangerous and lets be honest, mean very little.
Q: The team have "taken the knee" before every game?
HB: Yes and we will continue to do so. On Saturday, all of the Kingstonian team will "Take the Knee" in our continued fight against racism. Kingstonian is a family club, a community club and a football club that despises racism and discrimination of any description.
Equally, we want all of our supporters to proudly stand with us and support the excellent work of our newly appointed Diversity Officer, Adam Thompson.
Q: Tomorrow is the first day of the new season. What are you looking forward to most of all?
HB: Seeing the fans on the terraces and in the stands again! I love our supporters. Without doubt, they are the best group of fans I have seen in my career. The support they give the team is something else and everyone in the Dressing Room wants to achieve the success they are craving for and they so richly deserve!
Make no mistake, the Kingstonian supporters were a major part in our success last season. If we are to improve on that, we will need them more than ever. Starting tomorrow!
Let's raise the roof and give Hayden his wish tomorrow!
Tickets are still available online. Please see the Club Website for details.
Equally. tickets can be purchased at the turnstile on the day of the game.
All together now, "Looking back at when we first met..."