It’s time for strong nerves

Tommy Widdrington
Tommy Widdrington

MANAGER Tommy Widdrington has branded Eastbourne Borough’s match with Hampton and Richmond tomorrow (Saturday) a ‘must not lose’ day as his side fight for their Blue Square South survival.

Borough seemed to be climbing away from the drop zone a few weeks back but a string of four consecutive defeats have dragged them right back into the relegation battle.

Borough’s weekend opponents occupy the top drop-zone spot on 39 points but with two games in hand on the teams surrounding them.

After a dismal Easter weekend that saw Borough lose 3-0 to Welling United and 1-0 to Chelmsford City, both on the back of another 1-0 defeat to Dartford the week before, the Borough now sit just three points clear of the relegation zone.

Boss Widdrington said, “I wouldn’t say it’s a must-win match, more like a must-not-lose one.

“Three points to either side would be massive and we have to hope it’s us who get them.

“We’ve had a few heavy blows recently where we’ve lost a couple of matches we didn’t deserve to lose but we just haven’t been getting the rub of the green.

“I can’t say how many points will be enough to keep us safe but games are running out and we just need to try and win every game and distance ourselves from the teams below us.”

Eastbourne and Hampden and Richmond Borough are joined by Maidenhead, Bromley, Staines and Havant and Waterlooville in the scrap for safety but the Sports must keep their cool if they’re to retain their position ahead of the bunch.

“Our destiny is in our hands.

“Each of the teams down the bottom of the table have enjoyed varying spells of good form and, as we’ve just seen, a string of losses can come around just as quickly as a run of wins did before them.

“We need to stay calm and collected and I want the players to remember the feeling they had in their bellies when we won those matches on the trot.

“We need a united squad, even from those who aren’t playing.

“We want everyone pulling in the right direction and we want the fans to get behind the team on Saturday because that’s what we’re going to need.”

Borough goalkeeper Mitchell Walker (right) will still be available for selection for this Saturday’s match as the suspension for the red card he picked up during the Chelmsford match won’t kick in until the last game of the season.

Widdrington said, “They were both contentious red cards but we’re unlikely to appeal against it because it would cost the club and it could end up costing Mitch.”

A handful of Borough’s more experienced players aren’t currently match fit while defender Marvin Hamilton-Omole is also still ‘not quite right’ despite playing an hour against Welling and the first half at Chelmsford.

The manager will decide his starting line-up for Saturday’s game against Hampton and Richmond after late fitness tests.