REDDITCH United’s players have already transformed the club in what has been a “magnificent” season at the Valley Stadium, regardless of whether or not they clinch promotion from the Southern League Premier Division says manager Liam McDonald.
Successive goalless home draws against fellow high-flyers Leamington and mid-table Dunstable Town, coupled with this week’s deduction of three points as a result of the Reds fielding the ineligible Jim Mutton and Jazz Luckie against St Neots Town, has left Poole Town within touching distance of securing the title.
The Reds and others in the chasing pack are now concentrating on securing a play-off place and McDonald says this alone is an outstanding achievement for the club.
“For us to be second after 42 games and having pushed Poole all the way is a truly remarkable achievement in my opinion,” said McDonald.
“We have done this with a team of youngsters who on the whole have come up to this level from lower leagues and on a budget which is considerably less than that of our promotion rivals.
“I think this is already a historic season for the club. Given where we were at as a team a couple of years ago, we have come a huge distance. We are punching massively above our weight and clinching a play-off place would be a fantastic achievement.
“Some of these draws lately have been frustrating, but I’ve told the lads to never get despondent. They haven’t let anybody down whatsoever. They are overachieving.”
The points deduction means Redditch still have plenty to do to book their place in the play-offs, with two wins from their remaining four fixtures being the likely requirement, and McDonald has faith in his men to produce the goods, starting with Saturday’s visit to Dorchester Town.
“We are ready for Saturday now, clear with what we need to do, having drawn a line under the FA investigation and everything that went with it,” said the manager, whose side hit the woodwork three times against Dunstable in as one-sided a draw as you are likely to see.
“I have picked my team for Dorchester and there will be some changes. We need to get George (Carline) further forward in that role in which he has been so effective for us in the past and there will be some other changes.
“We should have Jazz Luckie back from a toe injury as another option up front after this weekend’s game and that will boost us.
“I would love us to get a home draw in the play-offs, for the fans really, because they’ve been magnificent all season and especially in recent weeks with the increased turnouts.
“We need more of the same from them against Chippenham and Kettering in our remaining home games as well, because it does help the boys.
“However, the main thing is to finish in the play-off positions. We know what we need to do and we’ll be very well placed if we can win on Saturday.”