Ahead of Saturday’s big game at Huish Park, we had a great chat with Sheridan Robins (@SheridanRobins) – a football commentator for BBC Radio Somerset – about all things Yeovil Town, their hopes for the season, which players we should be wary of, and what football is really like behind closed doors!
Yeovil adapted to life in the National League reasonably well last season, but a defeat to Barnet in the play-off quarter finals must have been a huge disappointment. How would you assess the season overall?
It was very disappointing, especially waiting so long to get back playing and being unsure if we would be able to have a chance to get promotion. We also dominated the game but just couldn’t take our chances and were punished for that. However, overall, I think it was a positive season where a winning mentality returned to Yeovil Town for the first time in five or six years. The stability was the most important and we more than held our own in the top seven.
The pandemic has hit all clubs hard this year. How badly has it affected Yeovil Town?
I think it is so tough for all teams at this level. Paying players and losing gate receipts is disastrous for clubs. But they have worked extremely hard behind the scenes and our amazing fans raised more than £50,000 for the club so there is reason to be positive with a Government grant and a hopeful return of fans in the not so distant future.
You’ve since had quite an active transfer window. How would you rate your summer signings? Is Myles Hippolyte’s departure to Scunthorpe a big loss?
I think we have added quality, but we are short on numbers. Josh Staunton was an astute signing and has made a positive impact, but we do need to add to our fire power up front, which is hard in this tough financial climate. Hippolyte was a great player for us, but he was inconsistent throughout the season. Darren Sarll certainly made the right decision to get some much-needed money for him. I hope he continues to thrive at a higher level.
When the league was curtailed back in March, you were ten points off the leaders Barrow in fourth place. What is the expectation this time around?
I think we have to assume we will be up there battling for promotion again as we have much the same team. However, we now know just how tough this league is and we will need to add strength in depth to challenge at the top.
Is there pressure on Darren Sarll to deliver this season?
After finishing fourth last season, there is always pressure and that not least comes from Darren himself. He is here to create a team which returns to the Football League but he certainly has the backing of the fans and we know this is a season like no other. I am confident he is the man to take us up.
From the outside, it’s been a strange start for Yeovil with successive 2-2 draws against newly promoted sides. How would you assess the opening two games?
Inconsistent. We have had passages of play which have been outstanding but also plenty of mistakes. When you are leading 2-1, you need to hold out and we just seem to be lacking that bit of quality to see it over the line. But Kings Lynn and Wealdstone were both good teams oozing confidence and will upset teams this season.
As a commentator for BBC Radio Somerset, you are one of the lucky few still allowed inside the stadiums. Just how different has it been without fans?
I feel very privileged that I get to go, and it has been so enjoyable as I love the club and love the game. However, there is no doubt it is not the same without fans. They provide that extra push for the players and we have supporters who sing their hearts out home and away. It feels eerie and like pre-season and you certainly hear a lot more swearing from the players!
When the sides played out a 3-3 draw at the Racecourse last November, Rhys Murphy scored a hat-trick with what felt like his only 3 touches of the ball! I noticed he was on the bench Tuesday night and scored immediately after coming on. Come Saturday, who else should Wrexham fans be worried about?
He started last Saturday but didn’t have his best game and so having dropped to the bench Tuesday, he did what he does best -score goals. He is not one of these players who has multiple chances in games but he takes the few he gets. After 28 seconds he showed the manager what he was missing and what he is capable of. He is a key part of our squad and his attitude is second to none. As for other players, Courtney Duffus has had a positive start to the season up front and Luke Wilkinson has without a doubt been our best player – we are very dangerous from set pieces.
What’s your score prediction for the game? I must say, Wrexham have been notoriously bad away from home for a few years now, so the chances of us contributing to another 2-2 must be slim!
I like to think after two draws which could have been wins, we should get that elusive first 3 points on Saturday but no doubt it will be tough. I predict 2-1 Yeovil with Murphy and Duffus scoring the goals.
Many thanks to Sheridan for donating her time and giving us such a good insight into our upcoming opponents. You can hear Sheridan on BBC Radio Somerset commentating on all Yeovil Town’s matches, and follow her on Twitter – @SheridanRobins.