Vanarama National League South
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Head Coach Marc McGregor spoke to our club reporter Liam Drury on Thursday evening, where the pair discussed the month just gone, Jarrad and Eli’s injuries and the two latest seagull signings.

In November, you got your first league win, you bowed out of the FA Cup and progressed in the FA Trophy. What do you make of the month?
It’s been a good month, and a month that we expect. I’m a bit disappointed with the Welling result, but I thought that we was outstanding. I’m disappointed that we didn’t take all three points against East Thurrock but that’s what happens. We’re gaining momentum and the really good thing about it is that we’ve got wins against sides that are around us in the league and we’re showing real green shoots of shooting up the league. The two new signings that have come in have fitted well into the group.

Image: Will. T. Photography

Against East Thurrock, it was a referee’s error that cost you the win. Have you got any more thoughts on that?
These things happen. The referees are human and they make mistakes, the same as us. Sometimes I pick the wrong side and that’s what happens so we can’t put everything down to the referee. We could have defended it better, we should have taken our chances and put the game out of sight. If we do our jobs, then hopefully it won’t be down to a third party.

Luke Purnell has shown his support for you in the local press this week. Have you got any words on a senior player standing up for you?
It’s how football is. I didn’t know too much about it, I don’t really go on social media. When I was playing, I took responsibility as soon as you step over the white line and the players have to put into practice what we learn on during the week. I can’t argue against what they’ve done over the past month, they’ve been brilliant. It’s always going to take time with a young group and breeds confidence. That’s just how football is. I’m probably the most disappointed as the fans, the board and the players know as they see me on the sideline when we don’t get a result. The thing that we do is that we work hard to get that result. I’m not fussed about what’s said on social media, I’m a supporter of Weston as much as anyone else. If we can climb that table, I’ll be happy.

Image: Will. T. Photography

You’ve brought in Marlon (Jackson) and Jennison (Myrie-Williams) during the month. How do you think they’ve settled in?
I think that they’ve done brilliantly. Jennison hasn’t played previously for a month so it was more of a fitness exercise to get him to where he needs to be and there’ll be more to come from him. I think that Marlon’s come in and he’s done brilliantly. He’s linked play well, he’s going to keep people on their toes now, players like Jamie (Lucas) and Gethyn (Hill). We’ve got a real strike force there that can go and really hurt teams in this league, and that’s what we need. We’re still searching to add and like we’ve done with the two new lads, we aren’t going to rush people in. The last thing that we want to do is to bring players in that aren’t going to fit the group or buy into what we’re trying to achieve here. I just hope that whenever some does come in, that they bring the level of quality that we expect.

Do you think that Marlon getting off the mark against Slough was important for him?
Yes, but he’s playing a similar role to Gethyn and Jamie. As a forward, I understand that you get judged on your goals but it’s really important that you bring people into the game with the ball. When the ball comes forward to you, you need to make sure that it sticks, it allows the defence to rest, it allows others to build but it’s so important to score goals and that will do him the power of good because he’s a good player and as you could see against Slough, he really worked his socks off. When Jamie Lucas came on, he done the same and I think that Gethyn has done really well out wide and drifting into those central areas. We’re starting to look like more of a threat going forward, which is exactly what I wanted.

Image: Will. T. Photography

Jarrad and Eli. Are they back from injury soon?
The club have been brilliant by paying for Jarrad to get a scan. We needed to get him done quickly as we needed to know what the injury is as he’s an important player for us. Eli’s is just one where he’s had a bit of a reaction. We don’t know a date yet, we’re waiting on the results from the private clinic on Jarrad and once we do, we’ll have a little bit more information. Jarrad’s a player that we miss because he can create something from nothing, and the club have been brilliant in allowing us to bring in new players to fill that gap, which Jarrad’s left.

Tom Llewellyn’s started a couple of games in the past month. How do you think he’s performed?
He’s done brilliantly. He’s a young kid, it’s going to take time, he’s going to be in and out, like what we did with Dayle, like what we did with Brad Ash when me and Craig had him. We have to look after these young lads because they’re going to be the future of the club. It’s a really tough game and people probably didn’t see the best of Tom when we was at home against East Thurrock because they crowded the midfield area, which didn’t allow him to get on the ball, but he will be a good player for Weston, I have no doubt about that. He did brilliantly away to Welling, and he’s going to play a part until the end of the season. I’m pleased for him more than anything, because he’s been given his chance and he’s done really well when got it.

Image: Will. T. Photography

You’ve loaned Liam Kingston and George Morris-Edwards out to Street in the last couple of days. Was that important for them?
They were desperate to go out and play games, which I understand. We have to help with that because it helps with their development. Going back to when I first took the job, George, Liam and Jack Goodall were ones that probably wouldn’t have been about if I hadn’t have come in. We’ve kept them about, and I think that the progression they’ve made has been superb so I just hope that they keep progressing. The three of them could also get chances, and could also be long standing members for the club.

Is George going out on loan a sign that you’re bringing in an experienced defender?
We’ve got cover there. George needs to play, he needs to get games because if we was to throw him into a game, he wouldn’t be fit enough, he wouldn’t have the match sharpness. It’s like a boxer that’s never boxed and then goes into the ring, it just doesn’t work. We’ve got Jake Lee that can cover there, we’ve got other players that can cover there. He needs game so that when he does come back, we can throw him in and we are looking to strengthen the back four. I think that’s the only place we really need to look at, but we aren’t going to rush into it and like we did with the forwards, it’s got to be the right players and ones that want to come who fit into the structure of our club.

Image: Will. T. Photography

Looking ahead to next month, you’ve got teams like Chippenham, Woking, Bath, Chelmsford that are all up there or aiming to be. Do you see it as a tough month?
Yes, it’s been a tough month but it’s been a tough month when we played the smaller sides! I’m not bothered about who we’re playing whether it be Chippenham, Chelmsford or whoever. We’ve got to play everyone in the league and looking at last season, some of the top sides came to us and we beat them. We went away and got good results so there’s no easy game in this league. I think that I’d rather be playing the top sides than the bottom sides at the moment. We’re looking forward to the month and the runup to Christmas, that’s for sure!

You’ve got Truro away in the FA Trophy. What are your thoughts on Truro and the situation regarding where you’ll be playing the fixture?
They want to go back to their own ground, which is totally understandable. I think that’s the good thing about our club is that we’re really lucky to have the facilities that we have so we don’t have to worry about it. It doesn’t matter, it’s a game of football whether we’ll be playing at Torquay, which is a lovely facility, but if we have to play at their place, then we’ll play at Truro’s. It makes no difference to me, it’s just a bit further to travel. The people who I feel sorry for are the supporters because they’ve got to organise travel, maybe on a Thursday for a game on a Saturday which I don’t agree with. They’re the people I feel sorry for. We’re going down to do a job, and that’s where I think the FA have let people down is the fans in my opinion.

Image: Will. T. Photography

You’ve got Hengrove in the Somerset Cup. Are you looking to retain that trophy?
I’m looking to retain it, yes! I’d like to win it, I want to comfortably move ourselves out of where we are in the league. That’s my plan, I want to win the FA Trophy and people will probably think that’s a funny comment but I believe that apart from the two errors we made at home against Wrexham in the FA Cup, we were as good as them on the day. Maybe the fitness showed but we showed that it can go either way. You can quote me on this, but I think that come the FA Trophy semi-final, there’ll be a club from the National League North or South and there’s no reason why we can’t be that ambitious club to do it. I’m fed up of people playing it down, we’ve got to aim for it and be positive because confidence breeds winners and the only players that I want to step across the line are winners.

Will you be playing your fringe players in the Somerset Cup to give them gametime?
Some will have to, but some will have to get minutes. Whoever plays, I expect to go and win. Like any club, it doesn’t matter who you are, when you put a team out, you expect them to go and win. We made two changes at Slough, Slough made some changes but Slough wanted their players to come in and make their decision hard. They wanted to play against Gillingham so we expected it to be even harder with the side that they went out with, which it proved to be. So whoever plays against Hengrove, I expect them to go out and do their job.

Image: Will. T. Photography

You suffered a collarbone injury after the Slough game. Can you just tell us what happened?
Yep, I had an accident, I broke my collarbone, I survived, it’s a bit sore and yeah, thanks to Jake Lee for helping me out when it happened!

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