05:15PM, Thursday 13 January 2022
Suffering your heaviest defeat of the season just a week before a crucial FA Trophy tie at York City doesn’t on the face of it appear to be the ideal preparation for Slough Town.
But joint manager Jon Underwood is hopeful the 6-1 defeat to Chippenham Town can have a galvanising effect on the Rebels’ players as they seek to bounce back and book a spot in the fifth round of the competition.
The squad is set to travel up for the tie on Friday and stay over in York, having trained for the match on Tuesday and Thursday.
Saturday’s result, and the severity of the scoreline, was unexpected and hugely disappointing, but Underwood believes the players will react in the right way against the Minstermen.
York City are similarly placed to the Rebels in National League North, sitting just three points outside of the play-offs in 12th.
“The players will rally round this week, and we’ve probably got the ideal game at York City, a big FA Trophy game,” said Underwood.
“It’s a big weekend. We’re going to travel up on the Friday. We’re going to train on Tuesday and Thursday, so we’ll have a lot of time together this week preparing for the game. We’re staying up there Saturday night as well, so we’ve given ourselves every chance with our preparations.
“I think it’s the right game for us, and - if I’ve got the measure of our players which I think I have - we’ll get the right response.”
The Rebels don’t often get the chance to travel away together – not with an overnight hotel stay anyway – but when they have in the past, the outcome has generally been positive, and Underwood is certainly hoping history will repeat itself on that score.
“I’ve not seen a lot of National League North matches but a lot of people consider it to be a little bit stronger to the National League South,” he said.
“If that’s true we’ll see, but I think the South is strong this year and they’re probably on a par with the Havants and Maidstones of our league that we’re used to coming up against and generally do quite well against.
“Their ground is an all seater and has cracking facilities. It’s an exciting one for us and we don’t often get to travel away together. I think back to Gainsborough in the FA Cup and King’s Lynn Town in the play-off final and those games both turned out pretty good. When we started planning this one it felt familiar from those games so hopefully, we can come back with another positive result.”