Big characters needed as Saints get set for a ‘scary’ finale
- Credit: Archant
Strap yourself in, it’s going to be a bumpy ride is manager Ian Allinson’s warning for fans and players of St Albans City as they prepare for the two biggest games of their season.
A 2-1 defeat to Dartford on Saturday kept them second from bottom in the National League South and in the relegation places with eight games to go.
It is still incredibly tight at the bottom, with six other teams within three points of City, but the next two matches are against the two sides directly above them.
That sequence starts with a trip to Braintree Town on Saturday and Allinson knows, with time running out, that all the players are going to have to stand up and be counted.
He said: 'We've got to be looking to get something from every game we've got left.
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'We've got four games at home where we have to target maximum points. That will be difficult as our home form hasn't been great.
'We have to start picking up points against the teams around us and that starts with Braintree.
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'We have to make sure we're in amongst it for those final three or four games.
'It is going to get scary and it's going to be quite tough and we're going to need big characters, someone like Tom Bender.
'At half-time [against Dartford] it was looking like he was going to come off with a bad knee but it shows what he gives to this club.
'He was outstanding in the second half. His knee was sore but he didn't want to come off and we need 18 people like him for the rest of the season.'
But while that covers the mental side of the run-in, the boss is also well aware that there has to be an improvement with the technical aspects too.
And he points to the Dartford match, as well as the Chippenham Town encounter before it, as the evidence to back up his argument.
'We can't keep using free-kicks against us as rest periods,' he said. 'That's what we're doing.
'We have to be bright and we have to be on the front foot and we have to nullify the mistakes.
'We've made three mistakes in the last two games and it's cost us three goals. That's the difference.
'When we went to Havant and Bath we didn't make a mistake and we won the game. Against Chippenham and Dartford we have and it's cost us.
'We've got some areas we need to work on but if we play with the same energy, we'll win games.
'But the mistakes worry me.'