03:30PM, Tuesday 04 February 2020
Ryan Upward WokingMaidenhead Utd vs Bracknell Town FC at Larges Lane, Bracknell 13th July 2019
Midfielder Ryan Upward believes there’s more chance of Maidenhead United chasing down a top half spot – or even competing for the play-offs – than there is of them being dragged down into a relegation scrap.
He might not have been so certain of that two weeks ago, when the Magpies were sitting just two points above the drop zone with sides below them having games in hand.
However, back-to-back wins over Eastleigh and Solihull Moors have lifted the side seven points clear of the bottom four ahead of a run of winnable fixtures.
It’s safe to assume that Ryan – who’s naturally a glass half-full kind of guy – believes the Magpies can be upwardly mobile in the coming weeks of the season and he says he’ll be looking up the table rather than down from now on.
"We'll get there," he said. "It's all to play for. I remember having a similar chat to the Maidenhead Advertiser last season.
“They were asking me if I thought we were good enough to stay in the division, when I was thinking we're good enough to push for the play-offs and it's the same this season.
"It's hard to put a good run together because the division is so competitive - only really Barrow have managed to be really consistent - but we've kept four clean sheets in our last six league games and if we can put a run together then we can climb up the table.
"We haven't managed to do that a lot (get back-to-back wins). Maybe once before this season? We've followed up wins with a loss and a draw and it's kept us down near the bottom. A week or so ago we were two points off the relegation places and now, before Nott's County's win on Saturday night, we were seven points off the play-offs (now nine)."
Upward will be enjoying an unexpected mid-season break with his family and partner this weekend, but admits he’d rather be out on the pitch kicking a football, especially after two wins on the spin. He’s also been impressed by the club’s use of the loan market to bring in the likes of Ody Alfa and Jaydn Mundle-Smith in recent weeks.
"I’d rather be playing this weekend because we've had two wins in a row and I just want to carry on now,” he said.
"I've been impressed with Ody since he came in," said Upward.
“He was impressive against Halifax, until he was injured, and he took his goal really well on Saturday.
"We're looking strong at the moment. We had a strong squad at the start of the season but, for whatever reason, it just went a little stale and the gaffer was rotating to keep things fresh. Danny Whitehall's been doing a great job up top and we've strengthened in other areas.
"Saturday was a big win for the boys and we've now done the double over Solihull Moors which is crazy.
“They had one or two chances but they never really looked like bothering us. They had one shot from nowhere which hit the post but other than that it was comfortable for us.
"We've just got to keep going and hopefully we can pick up more wins than losses in our remaining 13 or 14 games. If we do that we'll push up the table."
The Magpies return to action at AFC Fylde on Saturday week (February 15) before hosting Aldershot Town at York Road the following Saturday (February 22).
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