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WOKING v BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION

Brian Caffarey - 30th July 2007

Woking v Brighton and Hove Albion
7.45pm on Wednesday 1 August 2007

The Cards? second home friendly game on Wednesday evening brings League One side Brighton and Hove Albion to Kingfield for what should be an interesting and testing encounter, with the Seagulls having said, when this fixture was announced, that they would bring their full first team.

With only ten days to go to the opening league outing, Cards fans will be hoping that Frank Gray?s team can show that they are almost ready for the real thing.

WOKING

Although we are all familiar with the mantra that pre-season results don?t matter, many Woking fans will feel at least a little apprehensive that we have recorded one win and four defeats so far in our friendly games against lower league opposition. Most of the new players have shown, in flashes, that there is some real talent there but the fact that we have scored only two goals does pinpoint an obvious area for concern. The defence may look pretty solid but, if we are not creating, and above all taking, chances, trouble will loom.

I put these concerns to Frank Gray when I spoke to him this (Tuesday) morning. He chided me a little, first of all, for talking about two successive 1-0 defeats at the weekend: ?That?s a rather negative way of viewing those two games. I?ve said several times that results don?t matter in pre-season games. They were very different matches and they both provided excellent work-outs for us. As for scoring goals, we created loads of chances on Saturday and could easily have scored four or five. On another day Marvin Morgan could have had a hat-trick. I?m not worried. They will come. I?d be more anxious if we weren?t creating any chances. We haven?t been concentrating on finishing in practice but we?ll be doing more of that in the next 10 days.?

I asked Frank about the two bookings received in the Bognor game. He expressed some surprise that the referee had thought it necessary to book Giuseppe Sole and Marvin Morgan but said that he?d wait and see the referee?s report before deciding whether to take any action under the Club?s disciplinary code. Frank confirmed that he is still looking for another goalkeeper. He said that he has got one or two players in mind and thinks it likely that he will make a signing before the season starts but is ready to use Academy keepers as back-up to Nick Gindre if he needs to do so. He added that he would sign other Academy players on Blue Square forms as necessary.

Frank was pleased to report that no further injuries were picked up over the weekend and is expecting everyone to be available for the Brighton and Hove Albion game, including Adam Green, who has recovered from his head injury. Frank is not expecting to play any trialists on Wednesday. He emphasised again that he is not bothered about the result: ?It?s all about shape, getting match practice and trying people out in different formations and different positions. With a small squad, we need to have players who are adaptable.?


BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION

Seagulls fans will be buoyed by the news that the Secretary of State has approved the Club?s plans for a new stadium at Falmer. (What a boost we?d get from Council approval for our ground redevelopment!) It?s now 10 long years since Albion left the Goldstone Ground.

There have been fewer changes of personnel at the Withdean Stadium this summer than we have seen at Kingfield. 11 of the 15 players whose contracts were up at the end of last season were offered new deals. Of the four players released, Paul Hinshelwood was probably the best known. And there are only two new faces, although the Seagulls continue to have a good stream of youngsters coming through from their Academy. The two new signings are 33 year-old striker Nicky Forster, brought in from Hull City at a cost of ?75k. Nicky has previously starred for Reading and Birmingham City amongst other clubs. He has been finding the net already in pre-season games. The other new boy is former loan signing Andrew Whing, a right back from Coventry City.

Veteran defender Guy Butters and keeper Michel Kuipers are perhaps the best known names, apart from Forster?s, in Dean Wilkins?s squad but Woking fans will recall young striker Jake Robinson, who impressed in Albion?s youth team and then went on to score freely for the Shots in a loan spell.

Albion have been going well in their pre-season games, recording 4-0 wins away at Braintree and Bognor, 2-1 at Worthing, 0-0 at Billericay and losing narrowly 2-1 to Fulham. There was also a 0-0 draw against Wolves in a ?behind closed doors? encounter. On Saturday they lost 3-1 against Reading in Kerry Mayo?s testimonial game. The Seagulls play Hastings away on Tuesday evening.


ADMISSION PRICES

Admission prices for any part of the ground are:

Adults ?10
Senior Citizens ?5
Juniors/Students ?1

WFC season ticket holders are entitled to free entry to one of the three home friendly games on production of Voucher A from their season ticket.



Come on, you Cards!


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