After coming short against Durham Corinthians in the Durham derby, Durham City now take on Annfield Plain in a must-win game. While scorelines suggest that we are still not getting the results that we want, there is a massive improvement and a sense of a never-say-die attitude within the squad. That competitive streak within the squad will help us to keep going, especially against relegation rivals like Annfield Plain, whom we welcome to Leyburn Grove this weekend. Talking to manager Wayne Gredziak was Club Secretary Justin Smart ahead of the crunch match.
Match Preview vs. Annfield Plain FC
by Justin Smart
Justin Smart: What positives can we take away from the performance against Durham Corinthians last week?
Wayne Gredziak: There were a lot of positives last Saturday against Durham Corinthians for us as coaching team. We played a team that was 5th in the league and had beaten us 15-1 in a Cup match earlier in the season, so to get beat 3-0 away from home and be in the game with big chances without key players,who were missing for various reasons. It’s a big sign that after 4 games, we are heading in the right direction and that with a little fine tuning and continue working on our weaknesses in training, I’m positive these players will soon start picking up points.
JS: Liam Peverley had another good game between the sticks for us at New Ferens Park, how invaluable is his presence in goal?
WG: Liam Peverley has been talked about a lot recently after his excellent performances in the last two games he has played in and yes, I agree with you that all the praise he is receiving is justly merited. Liam is one of the 6 senior players we have within the squad and they all are invaluable to develop and help the younger lads push on. We have a squad of 28 players and only the 6 of them are over the age of 23,the rest are ranging from 16-23 what we are building at Durham City AFC is a squad that is competitive for the next few seasons and these young men look up to Liam and even though he is a goalkeeper, his past experience speaks for itself. That also goes for Kallum Hannah, Andrew Pritchard,Dean Hudson, Mark Hemingway, and Luke Elves; their knowledge is being passed on to these players.
JS: This is another big game for the club against a team two places above us, what are our chances of coming away with a win?
WG: In football nothing is guaranteed when it comes to winning games. Annfield Plain have turned their season round and have been picking up points against some good sides, so this is not going to be easy for either side as people may think as both teams have improved their squads. However, I feel we need to beat sides around us or at least not be beaten at home if we want to start climbing this league so this game is massive for both teams.
JS: Is there a lack of confidence up top for us? Or does luck play a part?
WG: Confidence is always key in strikers as their role is to score goals and sometimes that little bit of luck in front of goal can help with a player’s confidence. I feel that we certainly aren’t lacking confidence as we are creating lots of chances and I believe that someone is going to be on the back end of a big scoreline soon when it all clicks.
JS: Behind the scenes, you and I have worked tirelessly for new signings and this week we're excited about two more. Kaya Bodur and Callum Hills have re-joined the club. What can our fans expect from these two exciting talents?
WG: Yes I am pleased to Announce that Kaya Bodur and Callum Hills have both signed this week and will go straight into the squad for Saturday’s game. As you know both players are so technically gifted and very fit and quick but obviously,not playing for 4 months has hindered there match fitness.Getting them both onboard will be a big lift to the squad. Yes,they aren’t big name players with bags of experience but from what I have seen if they put in the right effort and dedication,they will be playing in a much higher league in the next couple of seasons and thank you Justin for your time and effort you have put in to ensure they came back.
JS: You’re welcome, Wayne. Durham City’s fans deserve the very best talent possible on and off the pitch and those two lads were chomping at the bit to get back to the club. We need the fans to support us just like they did at New Ferens Park because every single person in the committee, in the dugout and on the pitch want to turn things around for them. Do you have anything to add to that, Wayne?
WG: The Durham City supporters over the years have filtered out and have dispersed to watch other clubs over the last 4 years and with what has happened over the last few years on and off the pitch, they have every right to do so and I don’t blame them as they got sick of wasting their time and money to watch a team get battered week in, week out with no heart and no passion, resulting in the club dropping down the divisions to the current position: rock bottom of the Wearside League Division One with a -130 goal difference. What I am asking and hoping for is that this Saturday, we can get as many old and new supporters at the game to Houghton Sports and Social Club in Leyburn Grove to see for themselves. Postcode for those coming back to us or new fans is DH4 5EQ, it’s easy to find on any good quality smartphone map. Durham City with its history spanning over 100 years was nearly non-existent 2 months ago and the club had nothing at all. Now, thanks to the many fans who took to social media to share their memories and vented their frustrations, we have a football team full of players again. I can vouch for very single player in the squad; they will battle, not give up and wear the shirt with the beautiful Durham City AFC badge on with pride. More importantly, they will try their level best to get the team off the bottom of the league and give there all to try stay up. We have 15 games left to achieve this and hopefully we can pull off the Greatest of Great escapes!
That’s the mother of all rally cries to every Durham City fan out there from our manager, Wayne. There isn't a more important football match in this club's history than this one tomorrow. We humbly ask you loyal Citizens to get to Leyburn Grove tomorrow at 2pm to cheer on the lads to finally getting our first points on the board. Don't forget, entrance fee is £3 for adults, children under 16 get in for free, with concessions being £2. We have a selection of hot and cold beverages and food and snacks in The Citizen Café, all with reasonable prices. We also have the raffle which will be offered to you as soon as you reached the gate. One strip is £1 or you can get three strips for £2. Your support is greatly appreciated. Morior Invictus!