Pre-match interview - Durham Corinthians v Durham City AFC with Secretary Justin Smart and Manager Wayne Gredziak
Justin Smart: Wayne, does it get more exciting in the Wearside League than Durham derby day? Are the lads ready for battle?
Wayne Gredziak: Every game for Durham City at the moment is important in our quest of survival in Wearside league one and we will be preparing for the game like we do all games making this game against another Durham side. Obviously it makes it a little bit special for bragging rights but for us (Durham City AFC) have no reason to be bragging as we sit bottom of the league.
JS: As we know, it's a match played at our old ground, New Ferens Park, how much of a motivation could that prove to be?
WG: I keep reiterating that is all past in my opinion and we are now in the realms of a NEW side NEW Board and NEW Future. Yes the history is there and everybody knows that history as it’s well documented, the players are also aware of that history and I am sure they will put 100% effort to protect it.
JS: Any qualms about the 3G pitch there? Could it affect our performance in any way?
WG: I think New Ferens Park is now tired, worn out and not maintained for many years. It's a shame that it is being used as a money making scheme, with the 4G pitch there taking a battering over the years since I played there. But, we train on a 4G pitch and the lads are used to that, so I don’t see that affecting our game one bit.
JS: What is the main threat for Durham Corinthians? Do you see any weaknesses we could exploit?
WG: Durham Corinthians are 5th in the league, but they have been beaten 5 times so there is definitely scope for a shock on the cards. Their side is aging and I am hopeful our youthful team can wear them down, but don’t take away anything from Corinthians. As they are an established side and most have played together for 3 seasons and they are most definitely a footballing side. we are doing everything to ensure we can to stop Corinthians from recreating a 15-1 score line like the last time the two sides met earlier in the season in the cup.
JS: We're no doubt improving ourselves with a very good display at home to Silksworth last week despite going a man down in the 1st half. How encouraging is that for you going into the derby?
WG: We are improving every week and I was very proud of how we played in that game. But, it is one game and we can’t allow our standards to drop, we need to continue progressing in our development and improve week on week. We must now learn how to turn good performances into points and push up the league, and what better place to do so, than on your old ground against another Durham side in a derby.
JS: How important is Ross Hutchinson's leadership to the team? He was one of our stand-out performers last week and unlucky not to have been the committee's choice for POTM.
WG: Ross Hutchinson is a leader and hence why he is captain for Durham City AFC. He is professional on and off the pitch, with the younger lads looking up to him and his aura is rubbing off on them. I said in my Post match interview he was fantastic last week and him and two others could have got POTM. But, having Ross playing for my previous teams, I know what Ross offers for any team he plays for and will run through brick walls for me and the team.
JS: I've noticed you talk more of the collective effort rather than singling out players for praise. Is it because we can achieve our goals easier as a collective unit than with eleven individuals?
WG: No player is bigger than a club and all these players want to play for Durham City AFC. So, I don’t single out players as I believe that what ever we achieve or fail at, we do it as a squad. Each member of the 26 man squad is as important as the rest and we are all in this together. Each squad member will be called upon in our 16 remaining games.
JS: What new signings have we made and are any more in the pipeline?
WG: We have made two signings this week from Farringdon Detached in Jordon Southern, a stiker who has northern league experience and youth on his side, and also Alex Gudgeon, a former Durham City player who played in the Norther league for us in Division 2. So, both players add the quality, experience and the youth factor we are currently looking for. Thank you to Liam Lay, Farringdon's manager, who has helped get these transfers over the line. There will be a couple more next week, but we would like to not disclose that until they are signed on.
JS: Lastly, can our fans dare to dream of taking the city's bragging rights come Saturday evening?
WG: Let’s be realistic, a win Saturday in only our 4th game together is a big ask for any team even an established squad. Points of any kind would be a massive achievement and it would show the Durham City Supporters they have a team who is willing to play for the Durham City badge. I still believe that there is a chance that we could have some bragging rights and it’s certainly not out the realms of possibility, but that needs to be down to the effort of each individual player wanting to take them bragging rights home come Saturday evening.