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Riley hits out at Totton critics
AFC TOTTON boss Steve Riley says he is “saddened” by sly digs being made about his inexperienced, young side as they battle for their Southern Premier Division lives.
While the vast majority at the Testwood Stadium were delighted with Saturday’s 2-2 draw against high-riding Bideford, there was the odd barbed comment about what a difference a training session had made.
“Everything was really positive on the bench, but there were a couple of things said afterwards along the lines of: ‘What’s it like to train? You must have trained this week to get them that organised’, ” said Riley.
“It’s not true that we don’t train. But what people have to realise is that we’ve got young lads here, some doing shift-work and others at university, who put a lot of time and effort into football, travelling all over the place for no money.
“These lads are having to work because they’re not being paid.
“It means that sometimes at Thursday training we’re missing five from Saturday’s starting 11 which makes it difficult to work on set-pieces etc.
“But we talk the lads through key situations and, against Bideford, we looked very solid.
“It’s easy to point the finger and say we’ve been getting beat because we’ve not been training and haven’t worked on things. But these lads put enough into their football and it really disappoints me to hear comments from certain people and so-called supporters who haven’t got a clue about playing at this level.
“People are entitled to their opinion, but it’s not good for the side. It saddens me because we need everyone behind the team.”
Having banked four of the last available six home points, second-to-bottom Totton will be gunning for more against mid-table Burnham tomorrow (January 1, 3pm).
“We’ve not had any sort of unbeaten run since the back-to-back wins over Bashley and Chippenham in August,” said Riley. “We’ve got the same squad available tomorrow and it would be nice to start the new year on a positive run.”
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