05:00PM, Friday 10 November 2017
Burnham head into the ‘must-win’ match with fellow strugglers Fairford Town on Saturday off the back of a morale-boosting win on Monday and with the praise of boss Alan Paris ringing in their ears.
The Blues suffered a 7-0 thrashing at the hands of Hellenic League Premier Division title challengers Bracknell Town on Saturday, but had the spirit to overcome hosts Woodley United on Monday 2-0.
It was the Blues’ third victory of the campaign, all of which have been away from The Gore, and was Paris’s second since taking charge a few weeks ago.
He was delighted with the way his young side hit back from the thumping at the hands of The Robins.
“We didn’t give up and responded well on Monday to beat Woodley,” he said.
“They could have still had been down and not turned up, but that was not the case.
“We had seven local players in the team and I’m really proud of what they did. We had some debutants too, but gelled well.
“Jordan Dowdican scored both goals and we defended really well and from the front.”
However, the good news was tempered by availability issues for Saturday’s match at home to bottom-placed Fairford Town.
Paris said: “Now we have four or five players from Monday unavailable for Saturday and it’s a big game for both teams.
“That’s been the issue this season, chopping and changing every week, not having a settled side.
“It’s tough to bring it all together when you have a small budget and there are changes every week to the team.
“But Saturday is a crucial game. After the result against Woodley it’s one we can’t afford to lose.”
Paris will certainly will be hoping he doesn’t receive another phone call a few hours before the game like he did last Saturday morning.
It was goalkeeper Sam Bunting informing Paris that he had just signed to another club.
Paris explained: “Sam, who has been our best player this season, signed for another club, Hanwell, on Saturday morning. That was a blow.
“I couldn’t persuade him to stay for the match, and asked Hanwell if we could have the keeper Sam would be replacing, but they said they hadn’t told him and wouldn’t until they were all in the dressing room which didn’t help me.
“We managed to pull a lad in but it was tough against one of the best teams in the league.
“Bracknell have a good budget there and are attracting players from all over so it was never going to be easy.”
Nothing comes easy for management or players at The Gore at the moment, but Paris is determined to achieve their first objective – avoiding relegation.
He said: “I need players I know will do a job. Our target is clear – not to get relegated and be safe as soon as possible. Things are difficult and I can’t say we have turned a corner yet.”
He added: “What I can do is bring in guys who can play at this level and who need football time.
“I’ve got one lad coming from Tottenham to play to get game time. There’s not much more I can do.”
He added: “It’s not enjoyable at the moment, but we won’t give up, we’ll keep battling.”
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Police have closed part of Ray Mill Road West to traffic this afternoon.