REGAINING defensive solidity is the immediate task facing Redditch United as they bid to halt their slide down the Southern Premier table.
Only four sides in the division have conceded fewer goals than Darren Byfield’s team but the boss feels the centre back positions are an area which need strengthening if United are to begin an ascent up the table from tenth position.
On Saturday the Reds led 1-0 at half time at leaders King’s Lynn Town through Ash Sammons’ long-range wonder strike and had excellent chances to increase their advantage, but the Linnets hit back in the second half to win 3-1 through two Michael Clunan penalties and a Cameron Norman goal.
Not for the first time in recent weeks Redditch went away feeling they had left points out on the field which should have been in their bag and Byfield, whilst philosophical, is also frustrated by the situation.
“We are making too many defensive mistakes at the moment that are costing us dearly,” said Byfield.
“We are weak at crucial periods in games and that’s frustrating because I have a very good team here. Last season we were not a strong side in any area of the pitch and were swimming against the tide at times, but we are a very useful side now.
“Having got ourselves into a very good position we have fallen away somewhat but there are 25 games to play and we need a win on Saturday at home to Gosport Borough to give everyone a boost.
“I think we are good in midfield, good in attack and good at full back, but we need better in the centre back positions. Orrin Pendley has done really well – he’s a young lad who has stepped up a few divisions and I’ve been impressed with him – but he needs some help.
“Marcel Simpson and Gui Mailancol have left the club and I need a body or two in at centre back. There’s one which may be forthcoming, but I don’t expect anyone in before the weekend. It’s more likely there could be a new arrival in time for Banbury on Tuesday.”
After Banbury’s visit to the Trico, the Reds will play a third successive home game a week on Saturday against St Neots Town and a profitable points haul from the three games could reignite the Reds’ play-off challenge, but Byfield is unprepared to look beyond this weekend.
The manager added: “It’s probably the most used football cliche, but we simply have to take it one game at a time.
“We haven’t picked up enough wins in the last two months despite playing some really good football, so we must get three points this weekend.
“Gosport are down there but they had a good win at Farnborough on Wednesday so I am not expecting anything to be easy. We have dominated recent matches against Bishop’s Stortford and Tiverton Town and won neither and it’s got to stop. Performances must bring results.”
The Reds have a clean bill of health other than long-term injury victims Jack Coates and Vinny Mukendi who will both miss the rest of the season.