Stockley: New start, new era
Over the past couple of months since our last interview with AFCB Vital sponsored Jayden Stockley, the young striker has enjoyed his longest run in the first team and then seen one manager go and another come in.
The last time we spoke to Jayden he had just returned from his loan spell at Accrington Stanley and was set for a second loan spell of the season in League Two with Aldershot.
Unfortunately that loan deal fell through and Stockley spent the majority of February watching on from the sidelines.
But at the end of February, Stockley made his first appearance for the Cherries in almost five months with a late substitute appearance against the team from stadium:mk, he then earned another four substitute appearances and has impressed with his general impact from the bench.
His recent performances have also helped to boost his confidence and against Oldham he started his first AFC Bournemouth League game, in Lee Bradbury`s final game in charge. What was it like to see Lee Bradbury leave the club? "I would like to thank Lee for continuing my development after Eddie left, Lee believed in me and continued to ensure that I knew nothing would come to me without consistent hard work and focus.
'It was emotional when he said goodbye, I wish him all the best for the future." What were the first impressions of the squad in regards to Groves and Brooks stepping in? "Straightaway the focus/emphasis was on playing Football, this was what was going to help us in terms of getting results. New start, new era…let`s show everyone what we can do! There appears to be more of an emphasis on the 'style of play' under Groves, what has he tried to do on the training ground to get this new 'structure' in place? "From the first talk to the first training session…players were to play the way they know they can play. We are a good, if not excellent, footballing side, so roll our sleeves up..work hard and believe in ourselves. This was the message. Looking back over March, on a personal level it must have been one of the most satisfying of your AFC Bournemouth career? Five substitute appearances totalling over two hours of first team action and your first start. What do you think you have improved on in your game to become a regular part of match day squad? "Firstly I think that injuries to other players has meant that I have been able to get more of a 'look in`, but then of course it`s up to the player to take those opportunities. As I have been at Bmth since the age of eight I know how to play football. It`s not about flicks and showboating it`s about doing the basics consistently well and adding to that vision and hard work. I like to think that I bring to the team a forward that is always willing to show for the ball, to make several channel runs and one that will fight for the cause in every minute. These appearances have added to my experience and enable me to gain match fitness which is so different from being just fit from the training ground. " What was your best performance in your view? "Probably Sheffield Wednesday away. A good battle for the last twenty minutes which I found relatively easy in going against their defenders…though they were 3-0 up by the time I came on, but I was pleased in my contribution." You have impressed during your appearances but chances in front of goal have been limited. Why do you think that has been? "Strikers can be presented opportunities passes, through balls, crosses which I feel I have not had in my time on the pitch, they have just feel to other players.
"Strikers can also make their own opportunities, one or two maybe I could have done better with but you tend to ensure as a player trying to impress that your passes are completed and that the basics are done well…as more game time comes my way I will then feel I can take on players and create my own chances if need be….though I hope that chances will also be created for me from general play." You did of course get on the scoresheet for the reserves a couple of weeks ago, talk us through that goal. "That is a good example….Joe Partington delivers an excellent cross, I score.
'Football is not rocket science, if I get crosses and opportunities, I will score.
'The secret, and my job, is to ensure that I score with every opportunity that comes my way…very optimistic to believe you will but I like to think my goals to opportunities presented has always been high. I don`t miss much." Obviously as a very ambitious and focussed footballer your next target is obviously more starts for AFC Bournemouth, what do you think you need to improve or add to your game to put you in real contention alongside the likes of Wes Thomas and Matt Tubbs? "I am gaining experience all the time and I like to play even if only for a few minutes. I have been obviously watching the games and feel that of course I can only improve on various things personally but that I can bring something to the games now.
'You have to have a run of five plus games to really show your talent and importance to the team, though of course it can 'click` straight away. Though I feel I won`t get this soon that is what I am training for and aiming at to show everyone that Stockley is ready…and very able." It`s easy to forget, especially recently with your large involvement in the first team, that you are still only the same age as the other second year apprentices in the youth team set-up. What words of encouragement would you give to those who are set to learn their future over the next few weeks? "Work hard…then work harder. It`s all about focus, staying in when you could go out and then as my Dad keeps saying….`walk on that pitch with your shoulders back`. Do the basics right all the time, then add to your game with whatever other attributes you have." Looking back over the past couple of years, which would have been your apprenticeship years, what have been the positives to being fast tracked into the first team set-up from the youth team and what, if any, have been the negatives? "Positives is that I am ahead of my age in footballing terms had I stayed as an apprentice, training every day has developed me well. Not playing as much, which sometimes is very frustrating, has probably also helped me, though I wish there were more Reserve games to put your training into practice. Negatives none…Eddie Howe, Lee Bradbury and Steve Fletcher have looked after me, talked to me, and have been so important in my development years." Give us an insight into what you can learn from characters like Bradbury and Fletch, who are obviously vastly experienced strikers during their playing careers. "Lee and Steve have helped me and supported me at all times. I think generally it`s the regular talks you get that as a young player you listen to and take on board what they are saying. To sum it up though…you will make it as a player if you continue to work hard is the on-going message that is 'drummed` into you." I would imagine one of the negatives would be the pressure heaped on you and the squad when the team are struggling for results, what has recent weeks been like amongst a squad that is perhaps low on confidence? "As a team we know we are better than the results show. We have maybe, for whatever reason, played some pretty ugly football at times which is not good to watch, but equally is not great to be involved in as well…but sometimes is necessary.
"As a group we are good footballers, better than most teams in the division….so a bit of luck and continuing to work hard and believe in ourselves will bring about a change in fortune, I know it will." Obviously the change in management had a big affect on you personally as you started your first league game for the Cherries in Bradbury's last game in charge and then for Groves first game you travelled but were not involved in the match day squad. How did that feel? "I think any Manager wants his players to not be happy to be left out, I am not happy.
"But it`s how you deal with that in training and any match time that comes your way. I will continue to train hard and focus on impressing myself on the new management team at Bournemouth." The Cherries are set to play Havant & Waterlooville in a friendly this evening, if you are involved what do you hope to get from the game? "This is where impressing the new Management team starts!
"Play well…score goals…thus ensuring I am in the Manager`s thoughts.What are yours and the teams targets over the next few games? "A cliché …but finish as high as possible in the league as we can.
"We must push on and finish the season well, play good football and be ready for next season. A lot of things can be looked at in the remaining games, I hope that I will be one of them that will gain opportunities whilst we are mid-table… My own target is to play as many minutes as possible, score goals and then look forward to next season where I hope I will play more regularly though I think given the opportunity I can score goals wherever we are in the league.
To read Jayden Stockley's previous AFCB Vital features - click here
. Supporting the Club
Vital Bournemouth helps to raise money for the football club and The Junior Cherries, through a variety of schemes and its sponsorship of Cherry Bear and the AFC Bournemouth Travel Coaches.