RUFC - Q & A with Wealdstone's James Gray
Rotherham United begin, what we hope, is the start of a good cup run this weekend when they travel to play Wealdstone in the FA Cup First Round on Sunday. Vital Rotherham caught up with their versatile player James Gray this week.
James played for the Millers Centre of Excellence side for about three years, which, at the time was run by Tony Morton, and also played for the Millers Sunday side which was run by Johnny Parrott which he says brought on some good players like John Breckin, Paul Hurst and Chris Dolby. Although, James played for the Junior Owls Sunday League side for a few seasons, and in his first season in the U10`s was leading scorer with eighty-seven goals, he says it was too regimented and moved over to Rotherham finding it a much friendlier environment.
Question and Answer Session
I see you started your career with Sheffield Wednesday - how long did you play for the Millers and in what position?
I was with the Owls aged ten to twelve, then the Millers twelve to sixteen, centre forward at the time
What do you remember about Millmoor?
My memories of Rotherham are all good, from the centre of excellence to the games I played at the training ground. There were great people at the youth level and it was a great place to learn your football
Have you ever played against the Millers?
I have only ever played against junior Millers and the games against them where always tough as I remember, the rivalry of the Millers, Owls and Blades at junior football was very fierce, I don`t expect any different when the Millers come down here for Sundays game
How long have you played for Wealdstone
I`m in my third year with Wealdstone where to be honest I have probably enjoyed the most since my involvement in non league football, we have a great squad, great support and I`m really looking forward to getting stuck in against Rotherham. They will not have it all there own way at Grosvenor Vale that`s for sure
Do you think you have a good chance of getting through to the second round of the FA Cup?!
Hopefully we can put in a good performance, its not going to be easy, we know that, Rotherham`s fitness levels should be way better than ours and the longer the game goes on the more dominant they should be, but this is the FA and we are bang up for it. We have a good mix of talent, age and youth so all in all it should be a good game
Wealdstone are doing well in the league at the moment - what do you think the prospects of the club are?
Our aim at the start of the season was to try and get in the playoffs, we just missed out last year and we are hungry to get out of this division. Dartford are massive favourites to win it, with the budget they have and support they will be hard to chase down, we have had quite a good start and are in the playoff positions as we speak. A good FA Trophy run would also be nice. The FA Cup run is just a bonus and some much deserved publicity for the club and with the revenue it brings in, maybe we can strengthen the playing side further if need be, but the main aim is promotion, touch wood
Can you tell us how much and what sort of training you do?
We train only once a week really. We have many Tuesday night games with the league, cup, and various other cups we are involved in so it is mainly just Thursday nights, half seven till nine at the local RAF Northolt facilities. It`s basically a nine a side sized 3G astro pitch, we enjoy it and that`s where most of the banter happens
How would you feel about playing at Don Valley if there was a replay?
Personally I would be really happy for a replay and a return to my roots. I have played numerous times myself at Don Valley Stadium, for and against Sheffield FC who played there for a short while. I played against them for Denaby United, which from what I remember is in Rotherham or surrounding area. It's a very open stadium so I would not be hoping for any bad weather that night but it would also be nice for the rest of my family and friends to watch me play, the ones who don`t make it down on Sunday that is, there is talk of a coach load from Sheffield 6 coming down
Who should we look our for in the Wealdstone side
We have a very good squad and whoever takes the field on Sunday will do our non league proud. We have a free scoring midfielder in Ryan Ashe, who is a bites your ankle type and in Chris O'Leary along with the flair and technique of Mark E'beyer. At the back will be Alan Massey a very solid dependable type, an exceptional goal keeper in Shaun Thomas, down the right flank will be the pacey duo of Marvin McCoy and Forbes, recently released by Watford. All in all we have a nicely balanced outfit. Everyone has had some experience of a pro club, from the Owls and Rotherham, to Watford QPR, Wycombe and Tottenham and I am very excited
Thanks for answering our questions, James, and I hope to see you on Sunday.