CHELMSFORD City’s players know they can’t afford to take their foot off the gas at home to Basingstoke Town in the Blue Square South this Saturday, kick-off 3pm at Melbourne, as Head Coach Glenn Pennyfather reminds his confident players of their promotion priorities, despite their excellent recent form in the FA Trophy.
The Clarets caused an upset against Crawley on Monday, advancing to a last 16 bout with non-league heavyweights Oxford United, but Pennyfather is eager to play that game down for the time being.
“Our good run is based on hard work and the players know if they don’t maintain it and put in their shift there are others chomping at the bit to take their place,” he warned.
“That’s the luxury of having a good, eager squad to choose from. We don’t prepare by looking at the run we’re developing, we focus fully on each game as it comes along.”
City have adjusted their squad once more with news that striker Antonio Murray has been amicably released to find another club, while goalkeeper Paul Horwood has joined to provide cover to Ashley Harrison due to the work commitments of recent back-up custodian, Chris Elad.
Glenn added: “I’d personally like to thank Antonio for his service and wish him all the very best.
"He’s always conducted himself well and he’s a great lad, it just hasn’t worked out for him here."
Of immediate concern to Pennyfather ahead of the Basingstoke fixture, though, is the need for several players to complete pre-match fitness tests.
In defence, assessments need to be made on Mark Haines, who injured his foot at Weymouth, and Steven Clark, who picked-up an ankle knock against Crawley. Striker Rob Edmans will be checked for a thigh problem and forward Ricky Modeste is almost definitely out after twisting his ankle in the 2-0 midweek friendly win at Witham Town.
Basingstoke made a promising start to the campaign, dispatching the Clarets at the Camrose, 2-1, on August 15, but results have simmered a little since and they have dropped to 14th with an inconsistent away record, not tasting victory since December 5 and enduring a shuddering 6-0 reverse at Eastleigh on Boxing Day.