Rovers chief turns eye to final games of the season with seven left to play
Marc Abbott has said there are ‘no easy games’ left in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, as everyone is ‘fighting for something’.
His comments follow Saturday’s ‘disappointing’ 2-0 loss to FC Clacton at The New Croft, a result which saw the visitors net only their second and third goals of 2018.
But it is a symptom, Abbott said, of an end of season push towards ensuring safety, as the reality of their league situation sinks in.
“Clacton haven’t been on great form,” he said. “But there are no easy games in this league, particularly as the season comes to an end.
“It’s a very competitive league and this shows it, anyone can beat anyone, you can’t just turn up and expect to win.
“We have seven games left in the season, a real mixed bag of teams at the top and at the bottom and they’re all dangerous.
“Everyone is fighting for something now.”
Ahead of Saturday’s trip to relegation-threatened Ipswich Wanderers (3pm), Abbott warned that Rovers were up against a side ‘fighting for their lives’ in the league.
He said: “They just took three points off Kirkley & Pakefield, so they’re not a side to take lightly.
“They are fighting for their lives and that will make them hard to beat.
“I think it might be too late for them to avoid relegation now, they’ve left too much to do to catch up, but it looks like they’re going to give it a good go.
“We will need to be prepared.”
According to Abbott, it had been a ‘long season’ which had seen some of the squad take to the field on more than 40 occasions in all competitions, so he admitted to some ‘tired legs’ in the dressing room.
“That’s one of the hardest parts of the end of a season this long,” he said.
“We have some tired legs in the team with the number of games they’ve played, but this is also the period when we need to be focused.
“We need to make sure we see out the season as best we can.
“I would like to see us win at least half of our remaining games, even more if we can.
“If we can do that, then that should be enough.”
He said he hoped to see the side create more chances on Saturday, after a ‘frustrating’ performance against Clacton.
“It’s that lack of composure in front of goal,” he added. “The word of the season has been ‘nearly’ for us, we create the chances but can’t finish them off.
“And that was the story against Clacton.”
The loss saw Clacton move within one point, and a game in hand, of overtaking Rovers in 18th place in the league.
Goals came from two well-struck set pieces which left Rovers rooted to the spot.
The first of these gave them the lead with 11 minutes gone, Jake Place sending a 22-yard free-kick over the Haverhill wall and into the top left corner.
Rovers’ Joe Bennett also struck the post with a sitter from a couple of yards out, after a ball from Tommy Hardwick.
The hosts had a couple of chances to equalise, with supporters around the ground holding their breath in the 37th minute with some close range half chances that didn’t bear fruit.
But chances were rare for either side, with an 84th-minute free-kick from Kevin Coyle securing three points for the away side.