Last Saturday was a tough encounter against a big, physical side which we knew we’d be facing. We stood up really well, grew into the game and stopped them doing what they were good at. So it was of course disappointing to concede in the manner in which we did when I thought we were looking comfortable and I know how much it meant to the fans to progress.
But now we know what we’ve got to do in the league. We have two games where we ideally need maximum points to set us up after that. We need to get our heads down and preferably go on a bit of a run – we’ve still got all the top sides to play so the play-offs are in our hands if we win those.
We’ll find out tonight if Saturday’s gruelling encounter has taken much out of the boys. I’ve said we wanted games, and we’ve had them, so we can’t have it both ways and complain we’ve had too many in a short space of time. At Braintree the pitch was boggy, as it was Saturday, so there will be some tired players but we’ll have to manage that. We’ve got Tom Bonner and Tyrone Marsh available again, though Anthony Acheampong will be out for a week or so, but we should be capable and confident enough in our performance from Saturday, just not the end result, to discount any claims of weariness.
Nicky Forster will come here tonight to get that 6-0 defeat out of Staines’ system. That can work two ways – they’ll either come here and if we get an early goal it puts them on the back foot straight away and hopefully we can go on and put the game to bed. If not, then they’ll sit in and be hard to break down and get themselves reshaped and composed again after the weekend. I know Bromley won 6-0 on Saturday against them but it’s not an easy game just because of that. Their pride’s at stake after that beating and they’re going to come here wanting to get something.
I’d like to welcome Mark Gower to the club. We were at Lilleshall together so we’ve known each other a long time. I wouldn’t say we’ve seen lots of each other since but we’ve bumped into each other over the years. I saw him at a game last week and he still looks sharp. He’s not as fit as we would like him to be because he’s not played many games. He came on Saturday and he showed a little bit of quality and what he’s capable of doing so if we can get him a bit fitter he can play a significant part in the run-in.
We’ve got a big squad still, too big for my liking really, but we’re struggling to get 16 out. Some of that’s our own fault with players getting sent off which isn’t good enough but you can’t help injuries. I’d like to be in the position where I’m leaving people out but I’m not in that position yet.
We’ll probably know more this week on our casualty list but realistically the boys that are injured, by the time they get themselves fit and where we need them to be, we’re looking more towards the end of the season. Hopefully we can use some of them before that, which would be a nice position to be in, but if we’re still trying to get in the play-offs at the end of the season, it will be difficult for them to come in – which is obviously no fault of their own. But we have to play it by ear and re-evaluate where we are again in two or three weeks’ time.
Despite defeats, and even the odd big one at home, your support has been magnificent. We have tough games coming up and if you can show the level of support as at North Ferriby then it’s only going to benefit the players. We all want promotion and we can all pull together – so please continue to do your bit off the pitch.