Stringers set for final day relegation drama

Ian Stevens
Ian Stevens

Hailsham Town manager Ian Stevens says he is feeling relaxed ahead of his side’s crucial relegation decider with Selsey at the Beaconsfield on Saturday.

The Stringers know they only need to equal struggling rivals Ringmer’s result to guarantee Sussex County League Division One football next season.

Their neighbours have a tricky trip to high-flying Pagham but Stevens insists his side need to concentrate on themselves and will be doing everything they can to win the game.

“I’m feeling confident,” Stevens said. “We have got to go and win, it is as simple as that. We have to go in and play it like it’s a cup final.”

Despite being locked on 34 points with Ringmer, Hailsham’s vastly superior goal difference, coupled with what looks like on paper, an easier game, makes them slight favourites to avoid the drop into the second tier of County League football

A home fixture with already-relegated Selsey looks perhaps more favourable than a trip to a third-placed Pagham side who were in the hunt for the league title until defeat to Eastbourne Town last week.

Selesey, however, showed they will be no pushovers and outlined their own credentials with a creditable 3-3 draw with 
Eastbourne United.

“We know it won’t be easy,” Stevens added.”But we also know we can beat anyone on our day. I’m hoping there won’t be a problem as I have got a great set of lads.”

Stevens is set to welcome back a host of players who missed last week’s 6-0 defeat to highflying Dorking Wanderers.

A depleted Stringers side were outplayed by their Ryman League-bound opponents but will be back at full strength tomorrow.

Captain Jamie Salvidge returns alongside Danny Williams, McCauley Gray, Luke Snashall and Sam Divall.

Stevens says staying up will be a massive achievement after taking over when the Stringers looked doomed to relegation earlier in the season.

“Just getting to where we are is an achievement in itself but we need to finish the job by beating Selsey,” he said.

“It is my first appointment as a manager in senior football and I do not want a relegation to by on my cv.”