DANNY Gay stands just 90 minutes of football away from equalling a club record shutout for AFC Sudbury on Saturday.
But after keeping the ball out of the net for 515 consecutive minutes, the former Southend United professional has challenged his defence to help him fly through the six-game record set in 2000/01 and then chase down his own personal record of more than 900 minutes.
Four consecutive league victories without conceding a goal, after another 1-0 home win on Tuesday night, this time over Potters Bar Town following Saturday’s single-goal win over Waltham Abbey, has seen AFC move into seventh, just three points off the play-offs.
It has been a remarkable turnaround since the club were slumped a point off the bottom of the table with six points from nine games going into the back end of October against Chatham Town.
And with the club record looming large at Heybridge Swifts on Saturday, Gay will keep striving to get more out of his defence and himself even if the remarkable shutout continues.
“It was only three points on Tuesday and as for the 515 minutes, when I was at Hornchurch I did 900-odd mintues so let’s try and do that.
“If we can do nine games without conceding a goal and keep nicking the odd game lets see where we are then.”
Gay, who has been an ever present this season since signing on from current league-leaders Needham Market in the summer, believes the lack of goals at the other end, with Sudbury having one of the poorest goals-to-games ratios in the league with 20 in 17 games, is not a big concern.
“If we can keep grinding out the results we will be in the equation come April,” he said. “You go back 10 years Arsenal won the league on being like that, winning 1-0. From my point of view, I am happy winning 1-0, from the fans’ and manager’s point of view I should think the old nails are getting bitten a little bit.
“But we move on to Saturday and the hard work tonight goes out of the window if we don’t go to Heybridge and win there.”
Gay heaped praise on the role of his defence, Nathan Clarke, Adam Dalby, Ryan Henshaw and Ashley Sloots, in the current run without conceding, with the AFC stopper having last picked the ball out of the back of his net after 25 minutes at Enfield Town back on November 13 in the Alan Boon Ryman League Cup.
He added: “I think Tuesday night showed the desire and commitment of not just myself and the back four, but the team.
“In the last quarter of an hour we had to dig deep, we made a lot of good blocks and on another day they would have scored. But at the moment things are going well, we are riding our luck.
“The defence are playing well and we are just getting the odd goal. In football you only get three points if you win 1-0 or 5-0 so it is a very good win on Tuesday against a very good side.
“I think every game you go into you try and keep a clean sheet. At the moment the boys are doing really well. Club records are there to be broken, but give me three points any day of the week, a 2-1 would be more satisfactory than a 0-0.”
l AFC travel to Maldon & Tiptree on Tuesday (7.45pm).