BUOYANT Redditch United welcome Poole Town to the Valley Stadium on Saturday for a crunch clash in the Southern League Premier Division promotion race.
The table-topping Dolphins have drawn their last four league fixtures and seen their lead cut to two points by second placed Chippenham Town, whilst Liam McDonald’s Reds – with just one defeat in their last 15 league fixtures – are fourth, eight points behind Poole with two games in hand.
Whilst securing a top five finish and a place in the play-offs has been the season-long target for McDonald, he accepts victory over Poole would leave his side in with a strong chance of mounting an assault on top spot in the final third of the campaign.
Speaking after Monday’s excellent 2-1 home win over higher ranked Solihull Moors which clinched a place in the last eight of the Birmingham Senior Cup, McDonald said: “It should be a great game and one we are very much looking forward to.
“Our last three matches against Poole have all been decided by one goal and we’ve more than matched them in every one of those. We lost there 2-1 this season, but created more than enough chances to win that game, so we’ve got nothing to fear.
“However, they are a very good side and we know we’ll need to be at our best to get the result we want.
“I’ve got my thoughts on how we will go about trying to beat them. We will have to play differently than against some other sides in this league and certain players will be key for us for our plans to work.”
McDonald, whose side then host relegation-threatened Frome Town in a rearranged match on Monday, saw his side perform confidently to win 2-0 at Cambridge City on Saturday thanks to goals from George Carline and Rob Thompson-Brown, but revealed a stern half time talking to had been administered during the cup win over Moors.
“I felt as though we didn’t turn up in the first half,” said McDonald, whose side’s second half goals were scored by Carline and Jamey Osborne who netted with a brilliant strike.
“It wasn’t a terrible performance but there was no real energy which has been the hallmark of my sides.
“I wanted a lot more ambition and drive and to be fair the lads responded to seal a deserved victory.”