THE BACKING of the fans will play a significant part in table-topping Redditch United’s quest to secure promotion from the Southern League Premier Division says boss Liam McDonald.
United moved top of the pile on goal difference as they secured an impressive 2-0 victory at Cirencester Town on Tuesday, which came hot on the heels of Saturday’s resounding 5-0 victory at lowly Paulton Rovers, and they have the chance to strengthen their position with successive home games against relegation battlers Histon on Saturday, Frome Town on Monday and Bideford (March 26).
However, McDonald knows better than to take anything for granted in what has been an extremely competitive division and is wary of the desire which he expects the upcoming opposition to show.
“It’s been a great few days for us and I am proud to see us sitting top of the table for the first time this season, but we know there are no prizes handed out at this stage and there is plenty of hard work ahead,” said the manager.
“We need the fans now more than ever. The support against Poole the other week was fantastic and we really want more of the same to spur the lads on for the rest of the season.
“At full time at Cirencester there were no crazy celebrations from the players. They were instantly talking about getting the next job done against Histon on Saturday and putting on a good performance for the supporters.
“The lads are tremendously focused, remarkably so to be honest considering how young the bulk of them are, but we still need all the support we can get.
“Saturday is now our biggest game of the season. It’s one cup final after another and momentum means so much at this stage of the campaign.”
McDonald, whose side eased to victory in Somerset on Saturday thanks to goals from Jazz Luckie, Ash Sammons, Jordan Cullinane-Liburd, Jack Hallahan and Jamie Molyneux, hailed a ‘really good performance’ three days later from his side at Cirencester, who inflicted a 1-0 defeat on the Reds at the Valley on the opening day of the season.
“Cirencester is not an easy place to win at. They have a big pitch and it’s very open there, making the wind a big factor,” said McDonald, whose side prevailed thanks to goals from Luckie and substitute Luke Shearer.
“They are also a side who like to play with pace on the counter-attack, as do we at times, so it was a case of countering their counter-attacks. I said to the players they would need to run and run and run to get a result and to be fair they did.
“I had a bit of a go at a few at half time as I wasn’t happy with a few things, but the individuals concerned know it’s nothing personal when this happens and the reaction was spot on.
“You could see what we were all about when Shearer replaced Jazz (Luckie) and pretty much instantly made it 2-0. Jazz has done a lot of the hard work for us and then we’ve got Luke coming on whose pace and power was too much for them to handle.
“He’s still coming back to full fitness and having the likes of him and Jamie Molyneux on the bench ready to make an impact is a very healthy situation for us.”
McDonald, who revealed the Reds presented their evidence to the FA on Friday as they seek to overturn the charges made against the club and both Jim Mutton and Luckie after the pair were mistakenly selected against St Neots Town, is pleased with the options at his disposal as the final ten games loom.
Midfielders Simeon Maye and Alex Fletcher both played on loan for Boldmere St Michaels as the Mikes dented Alvechurch’s Midland League Premier Division title challenge with a 1-0 win on Tuesday and McDonald said both can have a big impact in the season finale.
“They are both very much in my plans and with Simeon in particular we have seen what energy he brings to the side. We will need that in the run-in, providing the type of dynamism which Eli Bako has brought to the midfield since his arrival.”