Tom talks – after Sunderland U21s

The Spartans media team’s newest recruit Michael Bowers spoke to Tom Wade after the defeat to Sunderland U21’s in Robbie Dale’s testimonial

Tom Wade was full of praise for Spartans’ standards against Sunderland despite a narrow reverse at Croft Park.

The match was club legend Robbie Dale’s testimonial and the hosts made sure the visitors were made to work for a tight 1-0 win thanks to Martin Smith’s late first-half goal.

Although he knew it would be a tough test playing against a professional side, the manager was happy with the attitude his team showed, especially in the last 20 minutes.

He said: “I said last week (against Spartans) wasn’t that good because of the standards we set over the four games before that. All I said to the lads after the game was: “We cannot let that standard drop.”

“We like to keep the standards up so today against Sunderland I thought the standards were excellent. We played some good stuff against a very professional side and we created some great chances.”

“They had two spells, they had the first 15 minutes and they had the 20 minutes after the second-half where they just stroked the ball around for fun. Then they just used their runners to come over the top. For us, that was something we had to accept.

Wade added: “They’re a professional side, they’re a strong side and they’re very fit; they’re senior pros so they’re no slouches. Their job is football. I thought the last 20-25 minutes we were the best side on the park. To have that fitness coming to compete with a professional side is a great attitude from the players.”

Despite the defeat, the day was all about Dale, who was met with a guard of honour and fantastic ovation from supporters; ovation which was electrically repated when he was subbed off in the second-half.

Wade said of the club legend: “It was very special he’s a unique player (and) a unique talent. For me, he’s the best player Blyth has ever had. He’s been a pleasure to work with since I’ve come to the club and he’s been not one bit of a problem for me since I’ve come here.”

As the EvoStik campaign draws closer, Wade feels the fitness levels are good but admits it’s a different ball game when points are once again at stake.

He said: “We’re looking forward to the season starting because we’ve played against different opposition for the last five or six games and our fitness levels look good. It’s just a matter of stepping up and doing it against sides in our league, which is totally different.

“It’s normally strong and physical in our league so it’s going to be very interesting to see how the lads react to league football and having something to play for.

“Friendlies, obviously if you get beat, we’re disappointed but you haven’t lost points so there’s pressure of getting points on the board. Points or no points, we need to keep on playing the way we’re playing.”

After having just missed out on the playoffs last season, Wade believes the objective is be in the mix over Christmas and then hopefully make a promotion push.

He added: “Every manager wants to get promoted hence we do. Everybody can’t get promoted, there’s only two teams that go up. We’re just looking to be in that top 10 over Christmas and if we’re in the top 10 then kick on from there.

“Sometimes the fixtures can go bad or you have a good cup run like we did and you could fall at the last hurdle. But it is obviously to try and get up the league but I think the league is the strongest it’s been for the last 10 or 15 years.”

Posted by BSAFC Admin