Players have given me everything says proud Reds boss McDonald - The Redditch Standard

Players have given me everything says proud Reds boss McDonald

Redditch Editorial 9th Apr, 2015 Updated: 18th Oct, 2016   0

REDDITCH United manager Liam McDonald has heaped praise on his side despite a disappointing Easter which has left the Reds’ Southern League Premier Division play-offs hanging by a thread.

United were thumped 4-0 by third placed Truro City at the Valley Stadium on Saturday in a performance which was described as “unacceptable” by McDonald, before two days later a hugely frustrating 1-1 draw at home to relegation-haunted Banbury United left Redditch six points adrift of the top five with just three matches remaining.

However, McDonald said he was “immensely proud” of his side’s efforts this season and said his side were now “running on empty”.

The boss said: “I was disappointed on Saturday because it was a poor performance and we didn’t give a great turnout anything to shout about but, as a general rule this season, we have given the fans plenty to cheer, we’ve played exciting football and run ourselves into the ground.

“I could not have asked for any more from the lads, they have given me everything this season.

“Some of the boys are running on empty and it’s been a long season, both physically and mentally. You’ve got to remember, some of these guys have joined us from two, three, even four divisions below and stepped up to the mark in what is a very tough and competitive league.

“There are plenty of sides below us in the table with far greater budgets and resources than us and that’s a mark of how well we’ve done.

“We’ve got Jordan Jones, a local lad who I believe is the best right back in the division, there’s Ashley Sammons who is the best attacking midfielder at this level in the country and we’ve found a gem in George Carline, who has been one of the best players in the league.

“It’s been fantastic to have a season challenging at the top and playing without the fear of relegation and I’ve now challenged the players to get us past the 70-point mark, which would be an excellent achievement.

“This season has been a massive learning curve for both myself and the team and I know the experience we have gained will make a big difference to us in the future.”

The Reds, who need to win at Burnham on Saturday and hope for favourable results elsewhere to keep mathematical play-off hopes alive, were utterly dominant against Banbury but an 81st minute equaliser cancelled out Ashley Sammons’ 39th minute half-volley which had opened the scoring.

The hosts twice struck the post and Calvin Dinsley, Leigh Phillips, Simeon Maye, Courtney Baker-Richardson and Carline were all frustrated by a combination of last-ditch defending and wasteful finishing as two points slipped away.

However, McDonald hailed his team’s efforts on the day and says they have reason to believe a promotion push is very much a possibility next season.

He added: “What I like about us now is that the team has an identity. For the first time in many seasons we have a squad which is largely the same at the end of the season as it was at the start and I believe the fans are pleased with that.

“It makes it their team so to speak and it shows the progress we are making. I have shown faith in youngsters and reserve players and have only made minimal use of the transfer market, which is important because it shows we are building something.

“Remember, we lost Jermaine Hylton who I firmly believe would have scored 40 goals this season and also Jamie Spencer who even from the bench would probably have got 20 goals, so it’s not easy to deal with that mid-season.”

Referring to the departure of Hylton to Swindon Town in particular, McDonald said the subject of contracts for players would be on the agenda when he meets with chairman Chris Swan next week to discuss plans for next season.

“Of course there are limitations but hopefully talks are positive and I will be in a position to do a good bit of the business which I have in mind,” said McDonald.

“I know where we need to strengthen and want to crack on as soon as possible. As I say, it’s been a learning curve for us all and if we can get some players on to contracts that will also start to provide the club with financial reward for our efforts in developing players.”

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