We're looking to build for next season now - Elphick

Worthing Football Club joint manager Gary Elphick admits interest has now turned to building for next season.

Worthing joint manager Gary Elphick admits attention has now turned to next season. Picture by Stephen Goodger
Worthing joint manager Gary Elphick admits attention has now turned to next season. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Staines Town became the second team in a row to put four past Worthing in a heavy Ryman League Premier Division defeat on Saturday.

Two strikes in the opening ten minutes from Max Worsfold and Afolabi Coker, coupled with efforts in the second half from Mohamed Bettamer and Tom Collins, helped Staines to a 4-0 success.

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A tricky recent run has seen Worthing fail to collect a point in four league matches and any hopes of sneaking into the play-offs have all but gone.

During that time, Elphick’s side have conceded 12 goals over the course of 360 minutes, leaving them eight points off Wingate & Finchley and the final play-off place - in 11th - with 11 games to go.

Having put together a fine run towards the back end of 2016 and in the early part of this year, Elphick is frustrated with how things have turned out.

He said: “We gave Staines two goals in the opening ten minutes and left ourselves a mountain to climb. To be fair, we got back into it and played quite well for periods, then individual errors cost us with the final two goals.

“It’s a bit of a shame it’s worked out as it has now but we’ll just be looking to steady and stabilise in the final few matches. Myself and Jon Meeney (Worthing joint manager) like to play a certain style but we may have to check that in a little between now and the end of the season.”

Following a recent poor run, Elphick pinpointed the departure of top-scorer Omar Bugiel as a major factor. Since the German forward left, Worthing have won just once in five matches. Along with Bugiel’s absence, defensive duo Jack Cook and Will Hendon have also been out through injury..

Elphick added: “We’ve lost our best player and it has been so tough without him.

“Omar almost did two jobs for us, holding the ball up top, then tracking back when it was lost. We’ve struggled to do both of those things since he’s been gone and we knew just how difficult he would be too replace.

“Along with Omar, both Will and Jack have been massive misses in defence. I think where we’ve fallen short this season is squad depth and it's something myself and Jon will have to improve if we are to be a force in this division one day.”

With just 11 games left this season, Elphick believes identifying players will be tough.

However, Worthing’s joint boss did hint at some potential changes before the season is out.

Elphick said: “There could be some changes before the season is out. We can’t keep hiding behind the excuse of losing Omar, he’s been gone for long enough now.

“I think a few players’ need to stand up and be counted in these final few games. Before the season is out, there could be some departures and a couple of faces coming in as we look to build for next year.”

Cook is expected to return for Saturday’s home league clash with Dulwich Hamlet, but Hendon is still out.

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