Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting CWNEWS to 80360 or email us »
March is make or break for City
12:00pm Thursday 28th February 2013 in Local Sport
CHELMSFORD City manager Glenn Pennyfather thinks March could make or break the Clarets’ season.
They begin with away games at Staines Town and Weston-super-Mare during the next seven days, and he’s aware how much of a boost six points would give the club as they attempt to chase the division’s top two.
This Saturday City travel to strugglers Staines Town, before making the journey to Weston-super-Mare on Tuesday night, both in the Blue Square Bet South.
Those games mark the beginning of a “massive” month for the Clarets, and Pennyfather predicted: “Come the end of March everything has unravelled, and you know roughly where you are.
“Staines were about second when they came to play us at Melbourne earlier in the season and they’ve suffered since.
“But when you look at their side – and I’ve seen their recent game against Eastleigh – they’ve got some excellent players. It’s a lovely surface over there, but it’s still a very difficult place to go to and get points.
“Weston will also be another very tough one, and they beat Welling United on Saturday which gives an indication of what they’re capable of.
“They believe in what they’re doing over there and it’s paying off because they’re not far outside the play-off positions.
“But we approach every game wanting to win, and this one will be no different.”
He was glad to draw a line under a tough February schedule, which began with a 6-2 thumping of Hayes & Yeading United, a 1-1 home draw against Billericay Town then a 4-0 win at a notoriously difficult venue, Tonbridge Angels.
The Clarets went down 1-0 at pre-season title favourites Eastleigh, followed up by another 1-1 stalemate against Havant & Waterlooville at Melbourne and a 1-0 home victory over Sutton United last Saturday.
He said: “Having beaten Hayes we had a really tough local derby against Billericay.
“But we went again and beat Tonbridge by another four goals and it was disappointing not to get anything from Eastleigh.
“It was a contentious penalty and, on another day, we could have taken a point.
“It was another really physical game with Havant – which might prove to be a point gained rather than two dropped – and it was good to get back to winning ways against Sutton.
“After doing so well against Hayes and Tonbridge it did raise expectancy levels a bit, so when we lost at Eastleigh then drew with Havant there were always going to be people who are down about things.
“But we’re always positive in the dressing room and, to have had the cup runs we’ve enjoyed and still be in the position we’re in, we’ve got to be happy. We’re as disappointed as anyone when we don’t pick up results.”
A factor which hasn’t helped him is the lack of players available due to injury and suspension.
For Tuesday night’s league game at Bromley top scorer Jamie Slabber returned after his three-match ban but winger Anthony Cook required a fitness test while forward Donovan Simmonds was absent alongside goalkeeper Stuart Searle, who is nearing peak condition again.
Glenn continued: “You always want your full squad to pick from so it gives you variety and flexibility, and then the players who are in the side know they’ve been selected on merit and it’s up to them to keep the shirt.”
He’s been in a position to supplement those numbers by using his contacts at Ipswich Town to bring in young full-backs Joe Whight and Jack Ainsley, adding: “It’s a real coup for us to get those lads on board, and we’ve also been able to name a couple of lads from our apprentice team.
“Stuart Slater and Kirk Game are doing some fantastic work and you can see, after only a couple of training sessions with us, how much they’re improving.”