The Only Way Is Essex?

Cards’ manager faces some tough challenges in the New Year

THE ONLY thing that Garry Hill is likely to be wishing for this Christmas is ‘change’, writes Andy Fitzsimons.

Following three good years at Woking FC, the Essex-based manager has certainly been through the mill this season. And some Cards’ fans now believe that Hill needs to show his true hand if the club is to move on.

Is Cards’ boss Hill ready to call time on Woking FC?

With a new, improved deal reportedly to be on the table, both Hill and the board of directors at Woking will need to decipher what the key milestones are for 2017, and if they even include Hill at the helm next season.

Whether a new deal can be brokered or not, there’s little denying, though, that Hill has largely overachieved based on the overly zealous expenditure of other National League clubs. In some cases, the spending ratio has been as much as 4:1 per annum.

There’s also the basic award (parachute) payment given to English Football League 2 clubs relegated to the National League, which is a further financial hurdle for Hill to overcome in his quest for survival.

It begs the question, therefore, that, at 57, does Hill still have the appetite to sign, potentially, another two or three-year deal to try and keep The Cards in the National League top-flight on another shoe-string budget?

In speaking with the News and Mail recently, Woking chairlady, Rosemary Johnson, confirmed: “We are still in ongoing discussions with Garry [Hill] about a new contract.

“Garry has done well in very difficult financial circumstances, and I hope that both parties can reach an agreement soon; certainly prior to the end of the season.

“I have a good working relationship with Garry, and I feel it’s important not to loose sight of what he has achieved for the club is his three previous seasons,” she added.

While Christmas is normally a time of togetherness, celebration and prosperity, Hill’s Christmas could well entail being one

The Laithwaite Community Stadium in 2016

of discord, contemplation and trepidation if performances do not improve on the pitch.

Yet despite the disappointment of being eliminated from the FA Cup and the FA Trophy in successive weeks, Hill can at least draw some comfort that his side didn’t concede against Guiseley last Saturday.

And if his side can muster another clean sheet against Aldershot Town on Bank Holiday Monday, Hill knows his side can score goals. In fact, The Cards have scored in every one of their league fixtures, bar one, since August.

But with four of the next six league games away from home, Hill knows only too well that his side will need to raise their game considerably if they are to avoid slipping back into the relegation zone.

To date, the Cards have only won one league game on the road this season, which was against Maidstone United four weeks ago. Prior to that, Woking’s last point was against fellow strugglers Guiseley on the 10 September.

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