Anthony Choat says Haverhill Borough deserve to be in the Thurlow Nunn League’s top flight, but warns they must start to prove it by adding to their points tally.
The Borough player-manager has endured a tough last four weeks at the helm of the Premier Division new boys, with Saturday’s 3-0 reverse at home to runaway leaders Felixstowe & Walton United their sixth straight defeat in all competitions.
It is an unwanted run which has seen Borough concede 22 goals and slip into the bottom four of the Premier Division table and, with the potential of as many as seven teams facing relegation this season, Choat knows how important it is that his side turn their form around soon.
“I’ve got a group of lads here who are willing to learn and are fully on board,” said Choat, ahead of Saturday’s clash with Godmanchester Rovers at The New Croft 3G (3pm).
“They’re a good bunch of lads and I think there’s more than enough quality there to help us stay up.
“We’re here on merit. We finished third (in the First Division) last season to get promoted and we deserve to be here.
“But most importantly, we need to show other people that. It’s all well and good us saying it, we have to get the points on the board and prove it.”
The Football Association outlined its plans before the start of this season to introduce new leagues at Steps 3, 4 and 5 in time for the start of the 2018/19 season, with the aim of cutting down costs and travelling time for clubs.
All 24 Premier Division clubs were written to by The FA, informing them that the worst case scenario would see the bottom seven teams relegated at the end of the season to help ensure that the transition of integrating the new leagues runs smoothly.
Following last weekend’s defeat to Felixstowe, Borough would theoretically be nine points adrift of safety, were the worst case scenario of seven relegation spots be implemented, but Choat has faith in his side’s ability.
“Defensively we have not been at our best this year,” admitted Choat, whose side have the second worst defensive record in the division, having shipped 48 goals from their 17 fixtures.
“Individual errors have been the big thing. We’re a new team at this level and it’s ruthless.
“If you make a mistake you can be punished, whereas last year we could kind of get away with it, to a certain extent.
“If we can put points on the board then we can’t have any regrets.
“I think we’re more than capable of finishing seventh, eighth, ninth or 10th from bottom. If we do that and still go down then we can still say we’ve had a good season.
“We’re in control of our own destiny. We can’t worry about the teams around us, we have to worry about ourselves.”
Borough will assess the fitness of Owen Longley and Craig Pruden this week.
The duo both missed the defeats to Newmarket Town and Felixstowe last week with hamstring injuries, but could return this weekend if they were deemed fit after training last night.
Ryan Weaver, who was sent off in the derby against Haverhill Rovers a fortnight ago, is back in the squad after serving his one-game suspension on Saturday.
Choat will, however, be without Ryan Phillips, who has left the club to join their Premier Division rivals Newmarket this week.
“I was disappointed to see Ryan leave,” Choat said.
“He’s a good lad, but it’s part and parcel of football.
“If you have good players, other teams will look at them, and he played well when we played Newmarket last week.”