Crunch clashes are occasions to be relished says excited Reds boss McDonald - The Redditch Standard
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Crunch clashes are occasions to be relished says excited Reds boss McDonald

Liam Moakes 25th Feb, 2016 Updated: 18th Oct, 2016

MANAGER Liam McDonald said he was both ‘excited and proud’ as his Redditch United side prepare for a potentially decisive few days of action in the Southern League Premier Division promotion race.

The third placed Reds play host to fourth placed Hitchin Town on Saturday before entertaining leaders Poole Town on Tuesday and victories in both games will arguably leave United as title favourites whilst also taking them a long way towards securing at least a play-off place.

However, despite such high stakes, McDonald insists he and his players are excited rather than fearful and believes his squad is more than capable of claiming the six points they crave.

McDonald, whose side have won six of their last seven league matches including an impressive 3-1 comeback victory at St Neots Town on Saturday thanks to goals from Jamey Osborne, Jordan Cullinane-Liburd and Jazz Luckie, said: “I am incredibly proud that we have set this opportunity up for ourselves.

“I take a lot of pride in what Dave Bridgwater, Nick Green and myself have done to turn this club around into genuine promotion contenders in a relatively short space of time and to be honest I can’t wait for both games.

“I know the supporters are looking forward to these games and I’m sure they’ll give the lads the backing they deserve as the fans know the players do them and the club proud pretty much every time they step on the pitch.

“We know we’ve got two tough games ahead of us but the players believe they can win both and so do I. If we don’t get the points we desire, then we’ll pick ourselves up and go again as we’ve done many times before, because there will still be an awful lot to play for.

“Everyone connected to the team should be proud of how far we’ve come with a considerably smaller budget than a lot of our promotion rivals. Our squad is about 80 per cent the same as it was at the start of the season and that’s impressive at this level of football, showing what we’ve built and developed as the season has progressed.”

McDonald, who has drafted in former Coventry City academy midfielder Eli Bako from Ilkeston Town in time for the weekend’s clash, was delighted with his side’s performance as they recovered from conceding an early goal to defeat St Neots.

“It was a very mature and solid display, exactly what you’re looking for at this stage of the season when it’s all about points,” added the boss.

“We stayed calm, imposed our game plan on them and nullified their threat extremely well. Ozzy (Jamey Osborne) produced a wonderful finish into the top corner and Jordan (Cullinane-Liburd) did superbly to react so well and put his goal away, before Jazz (Luckie) finished off a fine counter-attack.

“I’ve got to give Jordan a lot of credit because he’s become a key player for us at right back since Kyle Haynes departed. He went to Tividale on loan and did well under Ross Thorpe who had already done some good work with him at Alvechurch and you can really see the confidence in his game now.”

Turning his attentions back to the forthcoming matches, McDonald said: “Ultimately, we are relishing the journey we are on. We’ve got numerous systems we can play both home and away and we hope these will stand us in good stead as we face some of the best players in the league.

“We want to better our sixth placed finish of last season and that means getting into the play-offs. We are well on course.”

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