Preview: Berko boss Vipond aims to plug leaky defence ahead of Wembley test

Adiel Mannion opened the scoring for Berkhamsted
Adiel Mannion opened the scoring for Berkhamsted

Berkhamsted FC manager Mick Vipond has called on his players to fix their leaky defence ahead of their crunch SSML Premier Division clash against Wembley on Saturday.

The sharpshooting Comrades possess an incisive attack, boasting the third highest goal tally in the division, but have kept a meagre three clean sheets in 15 games – an issue Vipond wants addressing.

Berkhamsted manager Mick Vipond

Berkhamsted manager Mick Vipond

“Our defence has been nowhere near good enough, let alone to get promotion,” said Vipond.

“All too often we have had leads, looked comfortable and have either surrendered them or thrown them away completely, especially from set pieces.”

Despite their defensive frailties, Vipond’s intrepid side responded in fine fashion to three straight defeats in all competitions, with a commanding 4-2 win against Holmer Green on Tuesday night to reach the Premier Division Cup final for the second season running.

And the Berkhamsted boss believes this confidence boosting cup win will aid them in their cause against fourth placed Wembley, who won a 4-3 thriller in December’s reverse fixture.

We know that if we turn up on the day we can give any side in the league a good game

Berkhamsted FC manager Mick Vipond

“To win on Tuesday and reach the final again is massively important for us and hopefully we can use it to our advantage against Wembley who are a strong side,” Vipond admitted.

“The final is a great event to look forward to, and to see us play with a good tempo, ball retention and togetherness on Tuesday was very pleasing.

“We know that if we turn up on the day we can give any side in the league a good game, so we are certainly capable of getting a result.”

A hectic schedule is about to ensue for Vipond’s side – comprising 12 fixtures in the next seven weeks – and they will be without captain Ed Canham (suspended) and the unavailable Max Farrelly and BJ Christie for the clash with Wembley.

“The games are coming thick and fast and, with our thin squad, the fixture list is a bit of a mockery,” said Vipond.

“We’ve released five players in recent weeks who weren’t committed enough, and to take away players from the table-topping reserves may spoil their dream of promotion so it’s a difficult situation.”

The Comrades sit seven points behind in-form London Colney and are looking to secure their 10th home league win of the season against Wembley on Saturday.