06:00PM, Friday 13 December 2019
Second placed Slough Town will look to close the gap on Wealdstone over the festive period, but, with the leaders going seven points clear at the top of the table, Jon Underwood admits the side aren't yet gunning for the title.
The Rebels strengthened their hold on a play-off spot with Saturday’s 1-0 win over Braintree Town, a result which gives them a nine-point safety net over eighth placed Maidstone United.
The side’s packed festive fixture list kicks off against Hampton & Richmond Borough at the Beveree on Saturday week (December 21), with the Rebels also set to face the Stones twice over the Christmas period, at Arbour Park on Boxing Day and Grosvenor Vale on January 1. Those clashes will determine whether Underwood and Neil Baker’s side are title contenders or simply play-off challengers and form part of a hectic run of five matches in 14 days.
“We’re not thinking about the title,” said Underwood. “Our priority has always been to keep some space between us and eighth.”
“We’ve got a tough Christmas coming up and if we can come out with a good cushion above eighth then I think we’d have done well.
“We can’t really affect what happens elsewhere. We’ve got to keep trying to pick up wins for as long as possible.”
Wednesday’s postponement against Havant & Waterlooville, and with FA Trophy fixtures taking priority this weekend, the Rebels don’t have a match this weekend.
They’ll return to action at Hampton on December 21. A similar break earlier in the campaign disrupted the side’s momentum, and saw them lose 2-1 at Oxford City on their return to action, but Underwood is confident they can avoid a similar outcome this time and he’s pleased that the squad will get some rest before playing five times in 14 days.
“At this stage we’re in good form and the squad has got a clean bill of health so we don’t really want to break our momentum.
“As tough as Wednesday night was going to be, we were going into it with confidence and a strong squad.
“We wanted to play the game so it’s not ideal and we’ve had to change our plans now for the next ten days.
“We’re hoping to play a friendly on Tuesday night just to get a bit more match fitness into some of the players before Christmas.
“We’ve got some players that haven’t had a lot of football recently and even 45 minutes for them is going to be important.”
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