Wardley still has faith that Hadleigh can earn survival
After the weekend saw them slip to six points from safety with eight games to play, Hadleigh United boss Shane Wardley still believes they have time to save themselves from relegation.
The Brettsiders’ need to finish out of the bottom four to be certain of another season in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, which they won back in 2013/14.
They could finish fourth-from-bottom and end up getting a reprieve, if Haverhill Borough finish above them and they do not manage to reach an agreement to share the grass pitch Haverhill Rovers play on at The New Croft, with their 3G pitch still not having been brought up to the required Step 5 standard.
But Wardley, whose side’s 2-0 loss at Saffron Walden Town on Saturday, ahead of Monday’s home game with Long Melford being postponed due to the weather, was compounded by relegation rivals Borough winning 2-0 at home to Fakenham Town.
“It is frustrating as we started the game so well,” said Wardley.
“We had two or three good chances to go ahead and then conceded sloppy goals.”
Of the possibility of Haverhill Borough not reaching a pitch-sharing agreement by the end of this month, Wardley said: “Since I came in as manager of Hadleigh my aim was to finish fifth from bottom or higher, so if we end up getting relegated for finishing in the bottom four, we cannot feel hard done by.
“We cannot rely on whether Haverhill Borough stay up or go down. We have got to finish above them.”
Hadleigh are now set to travel to Haverhill Borough to play on their 3G pitch in a rearranged date of Wednesday, April 18 (7.45pm).
But with three straight home games before that, with Godmanchester Rovers on Saturday (3pm) followed by Thetford Town on Tuesday (7.45pm) and Walsham-le-Willows the following Saturday (3pm), it is the home games Wardley is targeting.
“We just need to pick up as many points as possible,” he said.
“We have got five home games (out of eight left) and we have got to concentrate on those games and pick up what we can away.
“I have faith in the boys and we just need another win to lift us again.
“We are definitely playing a lot better. We are creating more chances and we just need to start taking them and relieve the back five of the pressure they have been under.”
Goalkeeper Nick Punter suffered concussion on Saturday but is in with a decent chance of playing. If not, under-18s goalkeeper Jamie Colcombe will come in.
The Melford home match has been rearranged for Tuesday, May 1 (7.45pm).
Meanwhile, the backlog from the bad weather has led the Thurlow Nunn League to ask the FA for permission to extend the season into the bank holiday that falls on the final weekend of the fixture list (May 7).
Even though it means all teams may not finish on the same day, Wardley said he has ‘no issues’ with it.