Dowse closing in on preferred squad as Chelsea come to town
12:00am, Wed 18th Jul 2018
Woking vs Chelsea XI
Wednesday 18th 2018
The Cards’ pre-season fixtures continue to come thick and fast as new manager Alan Dowson and his team proceed to step up preparations for the new season. The start of our National League South campaign is now less than three weeks away, starting on Saturday 4th August away to East Thurrock United.
Woking put in two promising performances on Saturday during their double header against Spelthorne Sports and Sutton United, winning the former 2-0 thanks to goals from Declan Appau and trialist Kofi Halliday, before holding the National League side to a goalless draw. A condensed squad will now be reunited as the Premier League giants visit the Laithwaite Community Stadium.
If that weren’t enough, earlier in the day the Woking management team will be running 50 laps of the pitch to raise additional funds for the playing budget, so come down early if you can to cheer on Dowse, Ian Dyer and Martin Tyler, who has just returned from the World Cup in Russia.
Dowse used an impressive 29 players across the two games last weekend; of the contracted players, only goalkeeper Berti Schotterl was absent, with Charlie Wassmer and Christian Jolley both making their first appearances in a Woking shirt.
Against Spelthorne, the Cards included Sam Mason, Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Reggie Young, in addition to Appau, Wassmer and Jolley. Trialists included returning academy players Dan Choules, Charlie Hester-Cook and Billy Mountague, as well as the familiar faces of Halliday and the towering Brandon Diau, who went off injured during the game. There were also a handful of new players with former Aldershot youngster Eoin Kirwan, Luke King and Ibby Akanbi getting a run out.
At Sutton, Josh Casey, Ian Gayle, Jack Cook, Nathan Collier, Nicky Wheeler and new signing Max Kretzschmar all started. Alongside them were Greg Luer, a trialist from Hull City who scored in our opening friendly against Fleet and has since joined the club, and midfielder Kane Ferdinand – who played 50 times for the Cards last season. Full-back Dan Spence and winger Samson Maagbe also continued their trials, whilst Norwich academy goalkeeper Jake Hallett stood in between the posts. There were only four substitutes: midfielders James Dale and Paul Hodges, who scored against AFC Wimbledon last week, and strikers Nic Bignall and Carl Stewart, who missed a late chance to win the game for Dowse’s side.
There is at least one new player who will be joining the squad for the Chelsea game – striker Jake Hyde, who joined the Cards on Monday from Maidenhead United, and brings with him a vast amount of Football League experience with the likes of Barnet and York City. No doubt fans will be looking forward to seeing what our latest acquisition can do on Wednesday night!
As always with these kinds of fixtures it’s difficult to know what kind of team the Blues are likely to put out. Last time the two sides met, in August 2010, Joe McNerney scored the only goal of the game as the Cards won 1-0 against a team including names such as Jamal Blackman, Conor Clifford, Rohan Ince, Jack Cork and Franco Di Santo – who have all gone on to enjoy relative success away from Stamford Bridge.
With the Blues renowned for the depth of their academy setup it is a near certainty that some of the players on view will become starts of the future. The club’s Under-23 side already includes several interesting names – Kylian Hazard, brother of Belgium stars Eden and Thorgan, Ivory Coast international Jeremie Boga, who spent last season on loan at Birmingham City, and England youth internationals Izzy Brown and Callum Hudson-Odoi, amongst many others.
Do come down if you can and see how the team is shaping up.