Yeovil Town Season Preview: Krysiak crucial

yeovilYeovil Town’s improvement in form under Darren Way last season was instantaneous. They lost just seven of the young coach’s 26 league games in charge, pulling away from relegation trouble. This summer, flickering doubts have crept back in as first teamers have left and the quality in forward areas has arguably not been enhanced. Are Yeovil ready to start moving forward as a club? Or does another relegation battle await? The Football Lab spoke to supporter Sheridan Robins, who reports for the Weston Mercury. You can follow her on Twitter @SheridanRobins.

It looked for long spells as though Yeovil could struggle last season but you improved a lot from December onwards. How much of this was down to Darren Way and his mid-season recruitment?

While Darren did get some good deals, a lot of the players were already there – or were recently signed by Paul Sturrock. Francois Zoko was a huge part of why we stayed up. But more than that, Darren brought a never-say-die attitude back to the club. After three years of losing he got the players to believe in themselves and fight for each other. Yeovil Town are known for their team spirit and that was key to our remarkable revival last season. Darren is big on fitness, desire and sports science. That combination was a winning formula for us.

You only had 12 players contracted to the club by 29th June, three of whom had not played much. Could the club have been more proactive in the transfer market?

We made a lot of signings within a few days. This prompts me to believe deals were done but just not announced. Darren is not the type to take extended holiday. He would have been pro-active in all areas.

Goalkeeper Artur Krysiak and defender Nathan Smith looked good last season, particularly under Way. Are you pleased they have signed new deals?

I am delighted. We built a fantastic team around a good defence and the amount of clean sheets we kept was unbelievable. Nathan Smith had an an awful year in League One but he has turned into one of our most crucial players. Sturrock wanted Krysiak to leave but Krysiak was keen to stay. Ever since then he has proved everyone wrong. He is a key part of the team and acts like a captain. He will be crucial if we do well this season.

Right-back Liam Shephard joins on loan from Swansea. How did he look in his loan spell at the end of last season?

I like him. But as a right-back. We often played him in midfield and I felt he was out of his depth there. With the departure of Connor Roberts, he should be back to his best in defence.

Centre-back Jakub Sokolik and midfielder Ben Tozer have chosen to leave the club. Will they be difficult players to replace?

Sokolik was a great player and stalwart at the back but we do have alternatives. Tozer was good but again didn’t shine for me. In my opinion they are replaceable.

Midfielder Matthew Dolan was a regular last season. Were you pleased with his performances?

Matty is a great player and a great guy. He works hard for the team and can strike a ball. I am very glad he is in our team.

A few fans believe it was the wrong decision to let go of Jack Compton. With Kevin Dawson struggling with injury, was it important to wide men in Otis Khan and loanee Ryan Hedges?

I was sad to see Compton go, but he did struggle with injury. If Dawson comes back we will be a force to be reckoned with. His pace is unreal at this level. The truth is, he could play a division higher. I am looking forward to seeing how Hedges and Khan do. We need creative players with pace and hopefully they are the real deal.

You only scored 43 goals last season, fewer than Dagenham & Redbridge. Would it be fair to question the team’s potential firepower with Ryan Bird, Francois Zoko and Tom Eaves as your three strikers?

Absolutely. We didn’t concede many but we sure did not score enough. However, Zoko is a great striker as he carves chances out of nothing. It will be crucial the team all pitch in and feed him the ball whenever they can.

What are your thoughts ahead of the League Two season as a whole? Any potential dark horses for you?

I think it is an exciting season ahead. I would watch out for Barnet. I think they will have learnt from their first season back in the league last year. Martin Allen drills a team well and they may just surprise a few people.

Where will you finish? We have to remind you that you predicted 5th last summer…

In my defence, if Darren had been in charge all season I may well have been right. Ha! But yes, I may be slightly more reserved this time around. I am predicting 10th. We may well push on but unless our lack of goals is addressed properly we will struggle to do anything magnificent.

The Football Lab’s Verdict

Given the loan restrictions, Yeovil have a small squad lacking attacking quality after questionable transfer business. Keeper Krysiak and a decent defence could be their only strong points. 22nd