Chris Wilder's notes in today's FA Cup magazine
We take a break from League matches today as we welcome a decent Gateshead side who are pushing for the play-off places in the Conference. People have been asking me if this is a dangerous tie - well I have never seen a straightforward result in the FA Cup before. Every team in this competition can be dangerous if you are not right on the day. If you get it wrong then you are out of the competition and that is something we will be fighting very hard to avoid happening.
It would be great to make progress and have a little run in the FA Cup to go with an encouraging first 15 games in the league. Last weekend was obviously disappointing. I don’t like getting beaten in any game. Some of the things that led to the defeat were in our own hands; we didn’t take control of the game early and we wasted good chances to win the game. Other things were out of our control, as most of you saw.
We are still very much in contention but perhaps like most teams in the division we are still hunting for that consistency that you need. Nobody is running away with things as you can see by results recently and although we lost last weekend I would be more concerned if we were not creating chances or keeping things tight at the back. Instead I think it has been a very positive start. We are the second highest scorers in the division so we know we are making scoring opportunities, and we look very tight at the back. We haven’t conceded from open play for a number of games now which is a good base to build from.
Make no mistake, we are not jumping through hoops or overly thrilled when we have lost our last game, but we know there is more to come from this team and after a third of the season we are still very well placed.
Sadly we will be without Alfie Potter for the next eight weeks after an incident towards the end of last week’s game. We have to deal with losing one of our brightest attacking players for two months and the whole incident and what happened afterwards left a bitter taste. I could handle losing a game but the biggest blow was losing a good person and good player for a lengthy period and I know the supporters will want Alfie to make a speedy recovery.
We do have other players who will get opportunities and I would like to thank Fulham for giving us permission to play Ryan Williams in today’s game. Ryan is a very promising young player who has a lot to offer the team whether he starts or comes on to make an impact from the bench. He is maybe still striving for consistency but he is making excellent progress and we are delighted that he is available today.
Finally, I hope that everyone will join us in observing a minute’s silence before the game for Remembrance Sunday. Some things are much more important that football and a minute’s thought for those who gave their lives for this country is the least we can give for their sacrifice.