With Everton coming off of a really rough and rotten loss to Manchester City, the Toffees will certainly be looking to build back some momentum in their FA Cup match against Boreham Wood today. While on paper this should be a great bounce-back match for the Blues, The Wood shocked AFC Bournemouth in the Fourth Round of this competition just weeks ago and this young team is hungry to push forward farther into this competition still.
How will the Everton players respond to not only the hard loss to City, but also the difficult season thus far? How will the boss Frank Lampard and his coaches all respond to this team’s current adversity? How will the young Toffees step up against a side that is playing really well in both the league and cup?
RBM: First off, what is the feeling around this Boreham Wood side that is currently, as of this interview, third in the National League table? What is the feeling amongst the supporters?
The feeling around the side, as well as the supporters, is one of optimism and positivity. They’ve remained in the top 3-4 for the league campaign, and the national attention, not to mention potential payday, from the FA Cup run can only improve the mood.
RBM: What was the general reaction after the shock upset of Bournemouth in the fourth round of the FA Cup? Was there any sense that what occurred in the last round was possible beforehand?
I don’t think anyone felt the result against Bournemouth was really such a shock. The side was riding a wave of optimism, and it felt plausible to get a result, even away from home. Saying that, the sense of euphoria and disbelief at the full time whistle must have been immense.
RBM: What precisely has this side been doing so well so far this season?
The side has defended extremely well this season. They’ve got the best goals against record in the top four, just 20 conceded from 27 matches. When you’ve got a good defensive base to build from, you can be that little bit more confident knowing you’re going to be in every match. You can pick and choose times to get more players forward into the attack, knowing there’s a good spine to keep out the opposition.
RBM: Where are the areas that this side still requires some work with; what might the Toffees look to exploit when they face this team?
Obviously, you’d expect Everton to have some advantages around the pitch. I would expect their young players to try to exploit their pace in wide areas. This may not trouble Boreham Wood too much; I expect they will be content to let Everton have the ball in wide areas, but will try to crowd the area in front of goal. They will also be happy to let Everton play the ball out the back, and try to slow the pace of the game down.
RBM: How do you expect Boreham Wood to set up on Thursday, and which of their players do you think can cause Everton the most problems in the match?
I think a key player during this Cup run has been goalkeeper Taye Ashby-Hammond, on loan from Fulham, who has deputized brilliantly for the injured Nathan Ashmore, who I think is the best goalkeeper in the National League. He has yet to concede during this Cup run, and has been a calm and occasionally spectacular performer in goal.
RBM: Finally, what’s your prediction for Thursday’s match?
As much as I would love to predict another Wood upset, this may be just one step too far. However, I do expect a competitive match, with only a goal or possibly two in it. If Wood could somehow score first, we might see just how confident this side really is.
Our thanks to Justin for his time.