Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Danny Cowley cools talk of play-offs ahead of huge week for Concord Rangers
CONCORD Rangers’ superb form of late has got plenty of people tipping them as a very real threat to the Skrill South play-off places.
The Beachboys have picked up 10 points from their past four games and sit three points off the play-off places with at least a game in hand on their closest rivals.
Their chairman Anthony Smith even joked on Twitter, following their win over Gosport Borough at the weekend, that he would have to put his house up for sale to finance playing in the Skrill Premier alongside massive former Football League clubs such as Wrexham and Lincoln.
But their manager Danny Cowley has played down such talk ahead of a gruelling week that starts tonight at home to Tonbridge Angels then sees them go to Maidenhead United and then finish up on Saturday taking on a Havant & Waterlooville side who currently occupy the final play-off place.
If they come away with a decent points haul from that run of games then Concord could well be in the play-offs, but Cowley refuses to look that far ahead.
“It’s a massive ask, it’s a mountain really,” he said. “We go into the week with no expectation but no fear and we have nothing to lose.
“We have got a special group of players who never know when they are beaten. You only have to look at the number of late goals we have scored this season to see that. But this is a really tough run.
“Both Tonbridge and Maidenhead are fighting for their lives to stay in the division and they are the hardest teams to play at this time of year and a look at their current form shows that then we face Havant who are one of the best teams in the league.
“We have a small squad and a small budget in this league and the fixtures have not been kind to us.”
Cowley actually considers his team to be underdogs when they face both Tonbridge – who they drew 2-2 with just a week ago – and Maidenhead despite both teams being locked in a relegation dogfight.
“We are under no illusions that they will be tough games,” said Cowley. “They will be giving it all and fighting for their lives.
“It’s not often that a team in eighth place in the league, just outside the play-offs, are the underdogs against teams towards the bottom of the table, but we are.
“We respect the league we are in and the standard of it is so tough. Both Tonbridge and Maidenhead would be fighting for the Ryman Premier title if they were in the division below.”
Cowley says he will use his squad to the full over the coming week, with all his players getting the opportunity to play.
But he has no concerns about them running out of steam.
“We are a small squad but we work very hard on our fitness from the first day of pre-season training in June. We do that so we can be in a good position when it comes to the business end of the season.
“For the seven years I have been manager at the club, March and April have always been excellent months for us and we feel that’s because we go the extra yard in training and that’s a credit to the players who put in all the hard work.”