DCSIMG

Halstead manager is hoping his side stand up to leaders

AIMING HIGH: Ash Baptiste will be hoping he can help steer his Halstead side towards victory in Saturdays important clash with the league leaders

AIMING HIGH: Ash Baptiste will be hoping he can help steer his Halstead side towards victory in Saturdays important clash with the league leaders

Mark Benterman hopes his Halstead Town side can live up to the occasion when Whitton United visit Rosemary Lane on Saturday (3pm).

Having lost only once in the league all season, United sit top of the Thurlow Nunn League First Division heading into their weekend trip to north Essex.

And Benterman knows how big the task is for his Halstead team, after seeing them lose three games in a row to slip to sixth in the current table.

Benterman said: “It’s a big game on Saturday.

“We’re under no illusion that they will be the favourites .

“We know what we need to do and if we can perform like we have done this season then we’ll be more than a match for Whitton.”

Two goals from Andy Joslin helped Halstead to a 2-2 draw when the two sides met back in November, and Benterman is looking forward to another exciting game between the two promotion-chasing clubs.

“It was a fantastic occasion when we met earlier in the season,” he added. “The match was very well supported and I hope for the same again on Saturday.”

In two of the last three outings the Humbugs have been pegged back after taking the lead, with Benterman hoping they won’t make the same mistake again.

“The recent run has been difficult for the players but I believe that we haven’t been outplayed in any of the three defeats,” he said.

“In the last three matches we’ve been punished for our mistakes.

“We’re playing great football and just need to get the ball in the back of the net again .”

The Halstead chief is also looking to include some of his younger players in his team as the race for promotion to the Premier Division hots up.

“I’ve got a full squad of 23 players to choose from, including some young lads who have impressed me.

“I’ve been watching recent trial and reserve matches and believe that they’ll feature at some stage in my team.”

Halstead are one of three sides currently on 41 points, just three points off Swaffham Town, who occupy the final promotion place in third.

A win for the Humbugs on Saturday could see them move back into the top three, if other results go their way, as well as reestablishing themselves as firm contenders for promotion to step five football.

Elswhere in the division on Saturday, Long Melford will be looking to claim their first three-point haul of 2014 when they visit Fakenham Town at Clipbush Park (3pm).

Jules Mumford’s side (13th) will be searching for their first win on the road since November 9’s shock 1-0 success at local rivals Halstead.

Cornard United are also on their travels on Saturday when they take on Debenham LC at Maitlands (3pm) looking to end a run of six straight league defeats.

The second-from-bottom Ards’ last victory came 
against Debenham on November 23.

 

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