DARREN BYFIELD praised the strength in depth within his Redditch United squad after a depleted team proved they can compete with the best in the Southern Premier.
The Reds manager had to rule out half a dozen players for Tuesday night’s match with Kettering Town, one of the title favourites, but they ended up disappointed with a goalless draw.
It was a second successive draw after last weekend’s 1-1 result at Dunstable Town – Lewis Wright hitting the Reds equaliser – but the feeling of frustration on Saturday was replaced with one of satisfaction at the performance against the Poppies.
“It was always going to be a tough game but reflecting on our performance it felt like two points dropped rather than one gained,” said Byfield.
“We played extremely well and should have won the game. We created the best chances.
“The most pleasing thing was the performance, especially when you consider we had six players missing.
“We showed we are on the right path. We showed we can compete against one of the big clubs in this league, one of the favourites to be up there and one of the team you could describe as the big six.
“We showed we can compete on our day and we need to make sure we have more good days than bad days.”
The result leaves the Reds sixth in the table, but within seven points of the joint leaders Slough Town and King’s Lynn Town.
Without six players against the Poppies, Byfield recalled striker Danico Johnson, who has been playing for Bromsgrove Sporting, defender Marcel Simpson and youngster Zaquib Hussain.
But the Reds boss also suggested he will be looking to add to his ranks to prepare for the winter programme.
“Tuesday perhaps showed the squad isn’t as weak as some people might suggest,” said Byfield.
“But I think it’s the right time to make a few changes, to bring in a few players to freshen things up and strengthen the squad.”
The Reds boss is confident three of his midweek absentees will be back today (Saturday) when Redditch begin their FA Trophy campaign against Northern Premier side Coalville Town to the Trico Stadium.
Kevin Monteiro, Gui Mallancol and Spencer Weir-Daly are expected to resume though Jack Coates, Vinny Mukendi and Arjun Jung remain absentee.
Coates has yet to play their term but Byfield is optimistic he could be ready to play in a couple of weeks.
It’s 18 years since Redditch enjoyed their best-ever Trophy run – reaching the last 32 before bowing out to Boston United – and Byfield understands the importance of the competition, financially and historically. Saturday’s winners will collect £3,250.
“We want to well in the Trophy – I realise how big it is – there are big rewards if we do,” said Byfield.
“We are playing well at home and teams are coming to the Trico and showing us a lot of respect.
“We need to find ways to break teams down.”