WORKSOP Town’s ‘giant killing’ victory on Saturday was inspired by a flavour of the Far East.
Boss Simon Clark revealed to the Guardian that the counter attacking football that helped his Tigers side dump Conference Premier club Tamworth out of the FA Trophy came from his days in Singapore.
The 44-year-old moved to Woodlands Wellington in 2003 and returned to the UK in 2005 with a firm grasp on a style of football that Worksop employed to great effect for one of their best results in years on Saturday.
He said: “I played and managed out in Singapore and because of the heat they don’t press, you can’t do high tempo pressing in that climate so everybody plays counter attack.”
“I had three years out there as a player, coach and manager with a counter attacking side so it’s like a second skin to me.”
Clark may have got his tactics spot on to secure a 1-0 win over higher league opposition, but it was the players who had to put his plan to fruition – and their boss was thrilled with their efforts.
“I’m delighted for the fans and for the chairman, but mostly for the players because they had to go out and perform,” he said.
“Everyone involved played their bit, even the players who didn’t get on the pitch.”
“Frecks (Dave Frecklington, assistant manager) and I give them a platform and the ideas but they have to have the aptitude and professionalism to put the plan into action.”
“They all bought into it.”
And the manager believes that Tigers’ ability to adapt to a brand new system is a good sign for the future.
“It gives us another weapon.”
“We’ve played 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2 and now 4-5-1 – Frecks and I have only been here two and a half months.”
“I keep telling the lads I can’t wait for next pre-season, when we get them sharp, fit and football fit, having had time to see what they’re about and got rid of ones we don’t think can buy into what we’re trying to do.”
The victory set up another big clash at Sandy Lane, after the second round draw handed Tigers a home tie against another Conference Premier side, Newport County.
While Clark welcomes another tough challenge, he isn’t thinking about the 14th January game just yet.
“It’s a fantastic draw, but before that we have Hednesford on Saturday.”
“We had them watched on Saturday, they’re flying, doing really well and had a great win against Mickleover.”
Tigers fans needn’t worry about a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ this weekend, despite the massive high experienced by the club last Saturday, because the players are raring to go again.
Clark, insisting there was no sign of an FA Trophy hangover in his squad, told the Guardian: “The standard of training on Monday was superb, the standard of play and the movement.”
“The lads are absolutely buzzing. We were working the lads who didn’t play on Saturday really hard and I had the others asking if they could get involved – I’m almost having to hold them back.”
For more Tigers see pages 70 & 71