Bot­toms up: Laugh­arne looks to re­build Wood­ley

The Wokingham Paper - - PROPERTY - By TOM CROCKER

JON LAUGH­ARNE ad­mits the re­build­ing job re­quired at Wood­ley United this sea­son has been big­ger than he an­tic­i­pated.

The for­mer Fin­champ­stead boss took over the reins from James An­der­son in the sum­mer, but has en­dured a night­mare start with de­feats in each of his 10 games in charge so far.

That comes on the back of Wood­ley’s de­but sea­son in the Hel­lenic Premier Divi­sion last time out, which ul­ti­mately ended in rel­e­ga­tion back to One East.

And Laugh­arne says it has been a tough re­turn to man­age­ment.

“It’s been a brand new start,” he told The Wok­ing­ham Pa­per.

“All the play­ers from last year, bar about four, left the club. More left than I thought would.

“We had to start over.

“It’s been quite tough. We’re still look­ing about for play­ers.”

Af­ter the open­ing game of the sea­son on Au­gust 4, Wood­ley played again the fol­low­ing Satur­day be­fore a three-week break in be­tween that and their next game.

Four matches in eight days fol­lowed and while the rou­tine is now be­gin­ning to set­tle into a more reg­u­lar pat­tern, they will have waited 12 days be­tween their de­feat to Wok­ing­ham and Emm­brook last Mon­day and this Satur­day’s cup clash against Thatcham Town De­vel­op­ment.

“We’ve not had games ev­ery week,” he said.

“We’ve had huge breaks. We just can’t get any con­sis­tency in our fix­tures at all.

“We played four games in eight days af­ter a three-week lay-off, so we were right up against it.

“At that time we only had 13 play­ers so they played four games back-to-back from do­ing noth­ing for three weeks, which didn’t help, and then things have kind of con­spired against us a lit­tle bit.”

He con­tin­ued: “We’re in this Sub­sidiary Cup and I’m not sure what good it’s do­ing to us re­ally.

“We’ve played Al­der­mas­ton three times, Holy­port twice al­ready and it’s spo­radic fix­tures.

“Ev­ery­one else trains once a week and then plays on a Satur­day, but we don’t have that.

“We’ll have a game on Mon­day night, then we’ll train, then we don’t have a game for 10 days, then we have an­other game mid­week, then we don’t play Satur­day and it’s a lit­tle bit dif­fi­cult to get a run in there.

“If you look at our teams, it’s not the same play­ers (each week).”

Hav­ing been un­able to bat­tle for pro­mo­tion dur­ing his lengthy stint at Fin­champ­stead due to ground grad­ing reg­u­la­tions, Laugh­arne does now have the chance to build to­wards tak­ing a team into the top flight of the Hel­lenic League sys­tem.

And he says it did not take long to ac­cept the job of­fer over the sum­mer.

“I’ve known Mark Rozzier (Kestrels gen­eral man­ager) for a while be­cause we used to play against Wood­ley,” ex­plained Laugh­arne.

“They’re a re­ally good club. Re­ally well run, re­ally well or­gan­ised and a re­ally good set-up there.

“It was an easy de­ci­sion re­ally. “We weren’t set any tar­gets. They’re re­al­is­tic down there so we weren’t told ‘you’ve got to get straight back in the Prem’, be­cause ev­ery­one had left.

“They did re­ally well last year, con­sid­er­ing it was the first time they’ve ever been in the Prem as well.

“It’s a case of see­ing what we’ve got and we will try and move for­ward.”

He added: “There is the op­por­tu­nity (to get pro­moted) if we get a good enough team to­gether. “But we ap­pre­ci­ate in the league we’ve lost five out of five and with re­sults like that, you’re not go­ing to achieve any­thing.”

Wood­ley have three more cup games com­ing up be­fore try­ing to haul them­selves off the foot of the league ta­ble later this month.

And Laugh­arne is con­fi­dent his team will get that elu­sive win sooner rather than later.

“We just need to be bet­ter in both boxes and we’ll be al­right,” he said.

“We’re com­pet­i­tive. We’re not get­ting ham­mered.

“We played Penn and Tylers and by their ad­mis­sion, they’ve scored two ab­so­lute scream­ers against us. “We were push­ing to get back into the game and they’ve got the goal right at the end and we lost 3-0. “So Wood­ley have lost 3-0, but that wasn’t re­ally the whole story and that seems to be a trend that we need to stop.”

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