Gilbert remains optimistic

Falmouth Packet: Gilbert remains optimistic Gilbert remains optimistic

If Falmouth Town manager Les Gilbert can take a positive out of Saturday's humbling at the hands of defending league champions and Senior Cup holders Bodmin Town it is this.

That while the group of players who took to the pitch and were duly dismantled by the league leaders may lack the raw ability to compete at the highest level, they certainly do not lack the heart or the desire.

"I felt they tried as hard as they could," said Gilbert.

"It was sort of like attack against defence at times. It was the same for the second team, but on Saturday we didn't have a single forward available to play for the club, so I don't think you can take the result in the context of where we are as a club.

“In all honesty to get two teams out on the pitch this weekend was a miracle, but it was either that or cancel the game and that's a bit cowardly.

“Adversity just drives me on really."

Nevertheless, it's no doubt tempting for anyone scanning the weekend's sports pages to look at Saturday's result and think Falmouth a doomed club, staving off the inevitable as they slide inexorably down the table.

But that would be to ignore the facts. There's real weight to Gilbert's claims that the club's current position is not truly representative.

Town are soon to welcome back industrious midfielder Ross Pope and striker Rob Wearne, whose recovery after a horrific head injury sustained against Elburton Villa in September is almost complete.

And Gilbert hopes to bring in two or three new faces over the next few days - perhaps even before this weekend's trip to St Austell in the league.

"We've got a lot of people to come back, and we're hoping to make some signings," he said.

"Whipp will be back, Squires will be back. There'll be a lot of new players in the team so I don't think Saturday's result will affect us in the way that it might have. We'll be a hell of a lot different at St Austell.

And they'll need to be. Falmouth are now without a win since the middle of October, and unless they start picking up points soon they may well find themselves fighting for survival.

But Gilbert is adamant his side have the quality and temperament to haul themselves out of the mire, and given the players he has waiting to make their comebacks, it's hard to disagree.

"Our first priority is to get safe in the league," he said, "and that hasn't changed since we've been here. It's always been our first job really, and I honestly don't think we'll struggle in that regard."

What's less obvious is what kind of an effect Saturday's defeat will have on a squad doing their best to compete at a level unfamiliar to most.

"I do think it had a negative effect on some players, but there's two ways of looking at it. You could say this is an opportunity for me to play, or this is an absolute mess.

"It's always been the case that I want players here who want to play for Falmouth Town football club, and there's probably a few who are getting opportunities that they may never get again.

"I'm still optimistic that we'll turn things around, I do think Falmouth still has a certain amount of pull, but it's difficult with the players leaving the first team.

“We thought we'd just about got around to rebuilding it and then we get a similar scenario with the second team manager and then you get people thinking things are a mess here. It takes time to get people's confidence back."

Time is at least something that Gilbert and Stephens have, and if nothing else, the trip to St Austell won't be quite as lonely an experience for him after spending much of Saturday afternoon pacing his technical area in front of an empty dugout.

"Rob was up in Wales, and our physio was at a wedding," he said.

"I felt a little bit like Billy-no-mates standing there on my own!

“But I can take it. I'm big enough and I'm certainly ugly enough!

“But seriously, what I really want is young players looking at this club and thinking they want to play here.

“And that wil happen. Maybe not this season, but next season for sure.”

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