05:00PM, Friday 20 December 2019
Joint boss Jon Underwood is expecting a tight Christmas in National League South, in which points will have to be fought for, but he’s optimistic the Rebels can maintain their position in the play-offs and put themselves in a strong place going into 2020.
In a frantic festive schedule the Rebels will play five times in 14 days and Underwood is well aware it will be a decisive period in affirming their status as promotion, or even title, contenders.
“Our priority is to try and secure a play off spot,” said Underwood.
“It’s a difficult two weeks but if we can go into January in the strong position we’re in now, we’d have done well.”
“We’ve got Hampton first, who are going very well and climbing the league. They sit just outside the play offs.
“Then we’ve got a double header with Wealdstone who are top and we also play Hemel (December 28) who are in the play off positions.
“It’s going to be a crucial time of the season, it always is at Christmas but these are the games you look forward to.
“We haven’t got a huge squad but we do have a strong squad and everybody is currently fit so we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
The Rebels were without a fixture last weekend but will look to pick up where they left off against Braintree Town when they visit Hampton & Richmond Borough tomorrow (Saturday).
On Tuesday the team played a behind-close-doors friendly against Windsor. The Rebels won an entertaining match
5-4 but, more importantly, it enabled several players to get some much-needed minutes under their belts ahead of the busiest part of the season.
Underwood hopes the game will keep the players ticking over and maintain the momentum they’ve had going into the clash at the Beveree.
“Although we’ve got a busy period coming up we’ve not had a lot of football in the last two weeks, so we felt like it was a good thing to do,” he added.
“We wanted to try something different because last time we had a break, we weren’t at our best and gave a bit of a flat performance when we went to Oxford City and lost.
“While we’ve not been playing, Hampton have had two very difficult FA Trophy games.
“Will they have tired legs on Saturday – maybe. Will we be off the pace because we haven’t played in two weeks – you never know.
“You never know whether it’s better to have rested or to be playing the games they have. I guess we’ll find out come three o’clock on Saturday.”
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