New Cards face Premier League test
8:39am, Thu 6th Jul 2017
Woking v Watford
3pm on Saturday 8 July 2017
Itâ€™s been all-change at Woking FC this summer, and Cards fans will be eager to have a first look at the interesting new young side that Anthony Limbrick â€“ recently joined by Assistant Manager, Jason Goodliffe â€“ has been assembling. The emphasis seems to be on youth and pace and it will be fascinating to see how it all works out. Obviously, itâ€™s very early days yet, but why not come down to the Laithwaite Community Stadium this Saturday and cast a (not too critical!) eye over the new Cards as they take on Premier League Watford, who also have a new manager in Marco Silva?
Only five players remain from last seasonâ€™s squad: Joey Jones, Nathan Ralph, Fabio Saraiva, Kane Ferdinand and Charlie Carter. (We have yet to hear whether Brandon Hall will be returning to the Club.) Nine new signings have been lined up so far, nearly all of whom are youthful but with a good pedigree and some useful experience. One or two, like Joe Ward, a pacy winger who was well regarded on loan at Lincoln City last season, and defender Josh Staunton, who turned down a new contract at Dagenham, look genuinely exciting signings, while others, like Richard Orlu, a defensive stalwart at Dover, and Chez Isaac, a midfield anchor for Braintree Town for several seasons, look like the sort of seriously solid Conference National performers you need for the backbone of your side. Then weâ€™ve also got a powerful, big striker in Inih Effiong, two more quick wide men in Bobson Bawling and Jason Banton and a versatile midfielder in Jordan Wynter. One of the most interesting signings is between the sticks: 18-year-old Nathan Baxter, on a season-long loan from Chelsea: a young player who is clearly keen to show that he can cut it in menâ€™s football.
Interviews with the new arrivals suggest that a key factor in signing was Anthony Limbrickâ€™s enthusiasm and his clear views about the way he wants the side to play: with energy, pace, mobility and with a high tempo, pressing, game. Several were clearly influenced, too, by the belief that his Premier League level coaching experience will help them improve.
It sounds as if Anthony will want to use the friendly games sparingly as far as trying out trialists is concerned, but we will presumably see one or two at least this weekend.
Marco Silva will also be making his managerial debut in this fixture, having joined the Hornets in the summer following Hull Cityâ€™s relegation and Walter Mazzariâ€™s dismissal. He is Watfordâ€™s seventh manager since the Pozzo family took over the club in 2012. He previously tasted success in Portugal and Greece but couldnâ€™t quite save Hull from the drop.
Watfordâ€™s main signings this summer so far have been Kiko Femenia, a Spanish right back from Alaves; Will Hughes, an England U21 international midfielder signed from Derby County; and Daniel Bachmann, an Austrian U21 international keeper signed from Stoke City. Watford look as though they are bringing their big name players to the Laithwaite on Saturday, with the squad for the fixture being chosen from:
Brice Dja Djedje
The Hornets, like Woking, returned to training this week. Their first league game, on 12 August, is at home to Liverpool.
Adults - Â£10
Concessions - Â£5
U12s - FREE
But why not take advantage of the very attractive offer in the Geoff Chapple Lounge? For only Â£30 (inc VAT) per person you will receive:
â€¢ Admission to the game
â€¢ Fish & Chips / Sausage & Chips from Tremblays
â€¢ A complimentary pre-season programme
â€¢ Access to the leather seats in the Leslie Gosden Stand
â€¢ Hearing Anthony Limbrickâ€™s first pre-match talk in the Lounge
Spaces are available on a first come, first served basis. For further details, and to book your place, please contact the Club.
LAST TIME OUT
Woking 1 Watford 1
10 July 2016
Saturdayâ€™s game comes almost a year to the day since the Cards met the Hornets in last seasonâ€™s opening pre-season friendly game. With only eight players signed up for the coming season prior to the match, it was very much a case of â€˜Spot the Trialistâ€™ in the Woking team. There were, however, a couple of familiar names amongst the 12 of them on the teamsheet.
Watford fielded a very strong first team squad for what was also their first PSF. With household names like Gomes, Capoue, Ighalo, Vydra and others in the starting line-up, there were only a couple of youngsters with limited first team experience and no trialists. Even Troy Deeney put in a non-playing appearance, before a dramatic exit from the car park after the game in his new Â£180k Lamborghini.
Watford opened the scoring in the 21st minute, with Berghuis' shot from about 6 yards out being deflected in.
In the 22nd minute, Ismail Yakubu came off and was replaced by Charlie Carter, with Joey Jones moving back into defence. Within two minutes, Carter got the last touch on the ball for Wokingâ€™s goal, after a melee in the Watford goalmouth following a Saraiva free-kick.
The second half saw the usual flurry of substitutes but, overall, this was a promising display from the Cards against a rusty-looking Watford outfit.
Woking: Michael Poke (Brandon Hall 45), Jake Caprice, Ben Gordon (Ryan Sellers 45), Joey Jones, Brian Saah (Jaydon Thorburn 76), Ismail Yakubu (Charlie Carter 23),Wilson Carvalho (Charles Banya 50), Keiran Murtagh, Delano Sam-Yorke (Chike Kandi 63), Max Kretzschmar (Aaron Smith-Joseph 74), Fabio Saraiva (Geoffrey Ghesquiere 69)
Subs not used: Harly Wise
Goals: Carter (23)
Watford: Heurelho Gomes (Giedrius Arlauskis 45), Allan Nyom, Ikechi Anya, Nordin Amrabat (JosÃ© Holebas 60), Miguel Britos (Charlie Rowan 84), Tommie Hoban (Isaac Success 68), Ã‰tienne Capoue (Abdoulaye DoucourÃ© 45), Mario Suarez (Ben Watson 45), Odion Ighalo (Jerome Sinclair 45), Steven Berghuis (Obbi OularÃ© 45), Matyj Vydra (AdlÃ¨ne Guedioura 45)
Subs not used: Rene Gilmartin, Connor Stevens
Goals: Steven Berghuis (21)
The Cardsâ€™ other pre-season friendlies are as follows:
Leatherhead v Woking - 7.45pm, Tuesday 11th JulyÂ (River Lane, KT22 0AY)
Basingstoke Town v Woking - 7.45pm, Tuesday 18th JulyÂ (The Camrose, RG22 6EZ)
Wingate & Finchley v Woking - 3pm, Saturday 22nd JulyÂ (The Maurice Rebak Stadium, N12 0PD)
Woking v Cambridge United - 7.45pm, Tuesday 25th JulyÂ (The Laithwaite Community Stadium)
Woking v Swindon Town - 3pm, Saturday 29th JulyÂ (The Laithwaite Community Stadium)
The season kicks off on Saturday 5 August 2017 when Gateshead are the visitors.
Come on, you Cards!