Skipper striving to win back support after Cards’ poor end to 2021

SKIPPER Josh Casey is doing his best to win back the support of Woking’s fans after admitting his side have given them little to shout about in recent weeks.

The Cards bagged just three wins from 10 matches in all competitions during November and December to close out 2021, with Casey bearing the brunt of fans’ frustrations at the end of the 2-0 Vanarama National League loss at Solihull Moors last month.

Cards skipper Josh Casey is pulling out all the stops to win back support after a disappointing end to the 2021 season. Picture by Phil Fiddes

Casey, pictured, told the News & Mail: “No-one enjoys being criticised by their own fans. It’s not fun.

“Solihull was a low point for me, being booed when I went over to the fans and being told by a few to rip up my contract and walk away from the club.

“As captain of the club you never want to hear that – and I didn’t feel like that was deserved.

“Every week I try my best for the football club and it’s never for lack of effort that I won’t play well. So that was incredibly hard to swallow, but it comes with the job.

“And I know [management team] Dowse [Alan Dowson], Ian [Dyer] and Martin [Tyler] have been getting some criticism as well. The players aren’t oblivious to that.

“But we need to switch off from it at times as much as we can and develop a siege mentality, which is what we’re trying to do now.

“The owner [John Katz] has been absolutely fantastic with the players and the management, telling us that we’ve got his full support and faith.

“And as players we almost need to look after and protect each other and turn it around, because we know it will – we know the quality we’ve got in the group.

“Football clubs work best when everyone is united, and that comes from us as players to put some performances in to get the fans back onside and make them believe in us again.”

The Cards’ poor run certainly hasn’t been helped by a succession of absences from the squad due to injury and COVID-19 cases, and Casey lifted the lid on the situation behind the scenes.

He said: “The last couple of months have been really challenging. We seem to constantly have a COVID outbreak within the team and it’s really difficult to manage that.

“You get people with symptoms who are testing negative, and then you get someone who’s positive but is testing negative, and then get a PCR test which is positive.

“All of a sudden you have to look at who’s been with them, who else is feeling awful and do they have it.

“I feel for [physiotherapist] Christian Jolley, who manages it on a daily basis.

“It’s personal medical information, so a lot of the time people aren’t included in squads or are on the bench for COVID-19 reasons, but we don’t necessarily say who’s got it unless it’s been agreed with the player.

“It makes it confusing I suppose for fans, which isn’t ideal. And then when people do come back, it’s not a case of ‘You’re fine to come back’, as some people have reacted very differently and found it a real struggle breathing and fitness-wise.

“When you couple that with injuries, trying to get any kind of rhythm in training and matches has been really tough.”

Casey now just wants to focus on his chief objective for the coming year.

He said: “Obviously there’s been a blip since our good start to the season where we haven’t met expectations externally and we haven’t performed as well as we’d hoped internally.

“So the project for us as players in 2022 is to string together some consistency and push ourselves up as close to the play-offs as we can.”

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