DAN BATEMAN feels rotation will be key to Wokingham and Emmbrook’s chances of returning to the Hellenic Premier Division.
Sumas have made a fine start on Bateman’s return as manager with three wins from four matches in the league and host Milton United on Saturday (3pm).
But there was disappointment at the weekend after a penalty shoot-out loss against Langley following a 0-0 draw, a game in which Sumas took their tally of players used this season to 23 already.
And Bateman feels keeping a large squad happy is vital to continue the good start to the campaign.
“The one thing I learned in my previous time as manager is that you’re not going to be able to sustain any sort of challenge and compete if you’ve only got 15 or 16 players,” he told The Wokingham Paper.
“Everybody has a personal life and everybody has commitments that are outside of football.
“To be successful, you need to keep 20-22 players happy. You’re only going to do that if you do make changes.
“It’s a balance and the key for any manager at this level is to get the balance right.”
He continued: “I’m really pleased with how the league started.
“We didn’t deserve to lose against Penn either. That result was a little bit harsh on us but we’re pleased with how it’s going.
“We’re playing some really good football, we’re scoring goals and defensively we’re looking solid.
“I can’t complain with how the start has gone and we deserved a draw against Penn, so if we’d have been sitting here with 10 points that would be a fantastic start.
“I’m not disappointed with nine either.
“If you’d given me that at the start of the season and said you’ll have four games and nine points, I would’ve taken it.”
Saturday’s visitors Milton are familiar faces to Wokingham, with the reverse league fixture taking place just last month.
Sumas ran out 5-0 winners that day, but Bateman says the tables could easily be turned.
“When we played over at their place, everything that we tried worked,” he said.
“We were brilliant. Milton have picked up some decent results so if we’re not at our best, not working hard, don’t have the right attitude then I have no doubt that we’re in for a difficult afternoon.
“But my job is to make sure the lads are ready for it and forget the 5-0 and let’s start the game with a new challenge.
“If we play to our abilities then I’m sure we’ll get the three points.”
After two years of struggles, one of Bateman’s main aims when he returned was to change the losing mentality at the club.
And the boss feels he is starting to bring the feel-good factor back.
“We need to make sure that we keep driving them forwards,” he said.
“We’ve had a great start and that’s certainly helped to change people’s mentality.
“But what we don’t want to do is suffer a couple of defeats and then go back into our shells.
“We’ve lost one game out of five – I class last Saturday as a draw.
“We just need to make sure we get back to winning ways and it’s just a nicer place to be around when you’re winning games.”
Pick up The Wokingham Paper for the 2017-18 Sumas squad photo, out now!