Published: 05:00, 25 November 2021
| Updated: 09:27, 25 November 2021
Boss Tommy Warrilow is calling on Ashford’s out-of-favour players to take a leaf out of Josh Wisson’s book.
The highly-rated midfielder started the season out of their starting line-up but has now forced his way in, scoring in his side’s hard-fought 1-0 win over rivals Sittingbourne on Saturday - despite the Nuts & Bolts having midfielder Tommie Fagg controversially sent off.
Another tough match awaits this Saturday, as Ashford host VCD who are just outside the Isthmian South East play-offs in seventh.
Warrilow admits there is a good atmosphere at Homelands but says the whole squad will need to play their part throughout the season if they are to be successful - as he urged those out of the team not to move to pastures new in search of more game time.
He said: “We need a strong squad and a strong bench if we want to push for promotion. It’s a squad game nowadays.
“Josh Wisson is the perfect example with how he fought his way back into the side.
“It’s easier nowadays, if people aren’t playing, because they can just go and get a game somewhere else. But at the moment, touch wood, we have not had that.
“If you look around the team, they have all had game time. But I’m not going to play people for the sake of it.
“At the moment, we look organised. All teams at this level will have a 10 or 15-minute spell but we seem to have learnt how to weather that.”
It was a third goal in as many matches for Wisson against the Brickies, Wisson's old club, which helped Ashford move to within a point of frontrunners Cray Valley.
“I’m pleased for Wisso,” admitted Warrilow.
“At the start of the season, he was out of the side. But he has been training really well.
"I had a chat with Josh. I think he has been our best player in the last two games.
“He is now adding goals to his game. He is a top lad.”
Prolific striker Gary Lockyer, a recent addition from Kennington, came on for his debut against Sittingbourne as a second-half substitute.
Full-back Tariq Ossai, who has been sidelined with a collarbone injury, was also named on the bench but he didn’t come on.
Warrilow conceded: “I stuck him on the bench but I didn’t really want to put him on.
“Those that have come in are doing really well.
"It’s another week this week. We will see how he is on Thursday at training
“The longer he is rested, the stronger he will be when he comes back.”
Keeper Jordan Carey is also set to be available, having suffered an elbow injury in August, and Warrilow wants him to challenge Tyler McCarthy for the No.1 jersey.
He said: “Hopefully he will be back with us on Thursday.
"I want Tyler and Jordan to thrash it out because it’s no good having a keeper who doesn’t have someone fighting him for his spot.
“We have had Hooky (veteran Lee Hook), so we have had cover, but I want two out-and-out keepers really thrashing it out.”
On Fagg’s red card, Warrilow thought it was a harsh decision as he got a second caution after a tangle of legs.
He said: “It was a shame (the sending off) because it was not a dirty game.
"People start calling for everything, it’s rubbish, and I said that to Darren (Blackburn, the Sittingbourne boss).
“I think a good tackle can give you a lift like a goal can.
"So I don’t like that when players start to surround the referee.”
Fagg, who was also sent off earlier in the season against Herne Bay, is expected to miss the VCD game through suspension.