COACHES’ CORNER: Tim Flowers Previews Stratford Town

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Ahead of Saturday’s league match, away to Stratford Town (3:00 KO), manager Tim Flowers has provided a squad update, and looked at the match in store. He starts with his thoughts on the team’s league position…

“If anybody at the club looks at the league table and all the possible scenarios going into the final two games of the season, then they’ll be under no illusions. The players know it, and I’ll be reminding them prior to the game of what we need and what the different scenarios are. That’s not to spook them, but it’s to make sure they understand exactly where we’re at. I’m sure they do – they’re all pulling in the same direction and having a right go.

To be honest, if we were getting outplayed every week and conceding left, right and centre, and getting well beat then clearly I’d be very concerned but that’s not the case. It’s certainly not burying your head in the sand – when I’ve analysed the four games we’ve just played that we haven’t picked a point up in, the amount of chances we’ve spurned is huge and, until that changes, it’s difficult to win football matches. We are shy of a goalscorer, there’s no doubt about that, but they cost top dollar. The minute Conor Tee went out the building, most of our goals for the season went out with him – I couldn’t stop him going because it was a seven day approach and he wasn’t on contract. It’s hard to replace people like that. At the end of the day, we’ve just got to keep chipping away and try and get a result over the line.

“A lot of the chances we’ve missed have been gilt edged – you have to score and we haven’t. On top of that, when we don’t convert those chances, we always seem to make an error and that ends up costing us. But there’s a lot of ‘woe is us’ – four games ago, we looked like we were going to be alright at a canter and now, all of a sudden, we’ve contrived to get ourselves back into the relegation mix again. That’s our fault, and we have to go forward and try to remedy that.

“Stratford won’t be an easy place to go – they’ve got some good players, they’ve spent a lot of money this season, and I would imagine, they expect, on the back of that, to get in the play offs. I saw them a few weeks ago play Berkhamsted and they’ve got some very good players, and some that have been injured. They have a huge squad, with lads sitting in the stands and not even on the bench. We know it’s going to be tough, but it’s pointless going there and dying wondering – we’ll have a go.

“Toba (Obitayo) is still injured. Stan (Anaebonam) played and then came off towards the latter period of the game when we went two up front. Shaq (Leachman-Whittingham) was fine – he said he felt a lot better the day of the game last week. They both trained on Tuesday so they’re fine.

“This will be my tenth game and our fans have been absolutely outstanding, there’s no two ways about it, home and away. Some clubs travel in numbers in this division but not many and, as I touched on when I first came in, this is a big non league football club that could and hopefully will be again. I’d like to thank them for their support, home and away. Obviously, it’s our final away game and penultimate game of the season so, as I’ve asked prior to pretty much every game, all I ask is to get behind the lads as much as you possibly can because, in fairness to them, and I’d be the first to flex my muscles if I thought otherwise. They are having a go, they are giving it everything they’ve got, and I think the fans understand that. I think they see them trying to do the right thing, creating chances, putting in the effort, and I think you’ll always forgive people making mistakes if they are giving it their all.”

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