Hadleigh United manager Shane Wardley believes his side’s 1-0 home victory over Saffron Walden Town on Tuesday night was the ‘perfect preparation’ for this weekend’s relegation fight, writes Hannah Dolman.
The Brettsiders (21st) travel to The New Croft to take on Haverhill Borough on Saturday (3pm) sitting in the first relegation spot, of four, in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division table.
Borough (20th) occupy the final ‘safe spot’ in the league but, with just three points separating the two sides, this weekend’s game is crucial.
And Wardley said the way his side have so far responded to the pressure bodes well in their fight for survival.
He said: “Beating Saffron Walden was a very big win and a very important one too with our league position.
“We had a very poor result on Saturday (they lost 6-2 away to Gorleston) and I wanted to see a response to that.
“I’m very happy with the way they took on board my comments and fixed those things we were doing wrong.
“And we were rewarded with a maximum three points.
“It was good to be the team on top and all the boys are really upbeat and buzzing.
“It’s the perfect preparation for our game against Borough on Saturday, a massive win to take into it.”
He said he expected a tough fixture at the weekend against a ‘good side’ but said he also believed they are ‘beatable’.
“I saw Borough play Saffron Walden last week and they are a good side,” he said.
“It was handy for me to see them both play, to see where their strength and weaknesses are. Borough are tough but beatable.”
He added that it was useful that Hadleigh’s fixtures mirror Borough’s, just a week later, for him to assess their opponents but was not worrying about Borough’s results.
He said: “We just have to focus on our own results and on getting as many points as we can.
“We’ll then look at where we are at the end of the season.”
He said he had a full strength squad available for Saturday and that everyone was relishing the challenge ahead. On Tuesday at the Millfield, it was Kyron Andrews’ second-half goal that proved the difference between the sides as Hadleigh secured an unlikely victory over eighth-placed Saffron Walden.
It followed their 6-2 loss on the road the Saturday earlier at Gorleston, one of only three Thurlow Nunn Premier Division games to go ahead due to the wet weather.
Andrews netted a brace for Hadleigh but it was not enough to prevent a heavy loss.
He hopes the team can carry that winning momentum into Saturday’s trip and draw level on points with Borough.