‘Mancs’ set to help fill the EH Trophy void
MANCHESTER HOCKEY CLUB will provide the Guernsey men’s first team with vital match preparation today with the inter-insulars looming next month.
Island player-coach Andy Whalley is able to field the majority of his regular squad and is looking forward to having the chance to try out different tactics and formations against strong opposition before taking on Jersey in March.
‘This is the perfect opportunity for us to get some game time together and prepare for Jersey,’ Whalley said.
‘We went out of the EH [Tier Two Championship] knockout before Christmas so we have got to provide some focus for the inter-insular.
‘We have new sponsors for the side in Opus and BDO so now we can really build in the knowledge that we have that backing behind us, so we have invited Manchester over, and I hope it is going to become quite a regular fixture.’
Guernsey will be without Steve Waldrom, who is currently on holiday in his native New Zealand, while Jay Piset is away on an England U18 camp.
Goalkeeper Adrian Gidney is now back training after an emergency appendix operation, but he is unlikely to be risked between the posts for a couple of weeks yet.
‘Gidders is really pushing to get fit for England O40s trials, which is the weekend before the inter-insular, so he has got every motivation, but Rob Turville has been playing really well in training so we have good options there,’ Whalley said.
‘From a coach’s point of view, it will be great to be able to watch a match and see the things we do well and also what we need to work on without the pressure of it being a trophy game. We can try a few things – a 4-4-2, a 4-3-3 – and see what suits us best.’
The visitors also featured in this season’s EH Tier Two Championship and play in the North West League.
It will be the first time the two sides have met.
‘From where they are in their league, it looks like they are going to be really good opposition,’ Whalley said.
‘There are two schools of thought in setting up matches like this. You can go for good quality opposition or look for something slightly easier so you get more ball and get your confidence up.
‘I think these guys are going to be a very decent outfit and, fingers crossed, it’s going to be a cracking game.’
It starts at 3pm.
Guernsey team: Rob Turville, Tom Still, Tristan Cairns, Adie Peacegood, Andrew Dawson-Ball, Angus Hunter, Andy Whalley, Zak Damarell, Morgan Harries, Sam Dawes, Lewis Perfitt, Nairn Guilbert.