ENDING the season with a trophy would serve as a thank you to the supporters of Worksop Town, according to boss Simon Clark.
The manager wants his men to reward the fan base for their commitment by winning the Sheffield Senior Cup on Tuesday.
Clark, who won the Lincolnshire equivalent with Stamford last season, spoke to Guardian sports editor Graham Smyth this week about his hopes for the occasion and how his men have been preparing.
GS: What are your feelings ahead of an occasion like this?
SC: It’s a great game for my footballers to play in. And it’s fantastic for the fans. This season has been a rollercoaster. A poor start, a great middle and a very average end and hopefully that will all be forgotten if we can put in a performance at Hillsborough for however many fans go. It’s a little bit of a thank you for the support and dedication they’ve given the club.
GS: Is it a strange period for the club, with such a gap between the final league fixture and this cup final?
SC: It’s a difficult period. We trained last night (Monday) and as for the whole season the boys’ application was excellent. I spoke to them afterwards and told them they’re fit enough and athletic enough but it’s strange because you think the season is all done, but it’s not. I don’t mind because it’s what I enjoy doing. We’re governed by the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA and this is when we have to play it, there’s nothing to be done. We’re training again on Saturday and we will be prepared for it, and hopefully get a result.
GS: You missed the semi-final, what reports did you get back?
SC: The first positive was the result, the second was Khalid Alali and the third was that those who have performed consistently all season were consistent again. From Frecks’ (Dave Frecklington, assistant manager) report the same problems occurred that we can’t afford to have as a football club.
GS: Has Khalid Alali played his way into the cup final squad?
SC: He will be in the squad, absolutely on merit for what he did against Penistone. It’s great to see. I went to see the Under 19s at Dinnington and he makes good decisions, he’s good on the ball and he trained well last night. I’m really pleased for the kid.
GS: What’s the injury status of the players who missed the semi-final through injury?
SC: Luke Shiels has trained, Kern Miller has trained so they’re both available. Ryan Clarke is suspended, Lee Beeson and Ash Burbeary are unavailable, so apart from that I’ve got a healthy, fit squad to choose from.
GS: You also have four fit centre-halves to choose from. Is that a rare luxury?
SC: It’s nice to have the choice, but I know what I’m going to do on the night.
GS: What do you expect from Frickley in the final?
SC: Exactly the same, they’ll get it forward, they’ll look at us at set plays and load the box. They’ll work very hard to break us down. They will try to disrupt and bully us and not allow us any fluidity or momentum.
GS: So how do you prepare for that?
SC: We did a session purely on our game plan. We’ll press high and work them and make them lose their quality, so when we get it we can play quick, shift the ball and keep it moving because I think athletically we have more than them. It’s a great surface we’ll be playing on and that suits us more than it suits them.