Manager Dave Frecklington believes last weekend’s blank date can be good for his Frickley Athletic players as they look to go on a big push to try to reach the play-offs in the BetVictor South East Division.
After recovering from a shock start to the season to a position close to the top five, the Blues have 11 league games left and are out to win as many of those as possible to keep the pressure on the sides above them.
Nine wins in 11 outings shot them up the table, but they have only taken one point from their last three matches and scored just one goal in them so the week off may have come at a good time to freshen up the players for the run-in ahead.
Frecklington believes the recent results are only a blip on what has been such an upward curve – and two of those three matches were against opponents in the top three so there was no disgrace in losing 1-0 in a close game with Leek Town while a deserved 1-1 draw was achieved against Cleethorpes Town.
He said: “We need the rest because the same 11, 12 players have gone through a lot of games.
“We needed to have a break then get ready for two tough sessions going into the Wisbech game and refocus on that.
“I feel we are not far off being a really top side, but unfortunately the poor start to the season has put pressure on us to try to keep winning every week – and that isn’t going to happen.
“We need to have a proper rest, there’s a lot of aching bodies. They have given everything for the football club, but the last three performances haven’t been near where we wanted to be and now’s a good time to re-energise ourselves and regroup.
“It’s a good time for us to re-set, 11 games to go, we probably have to win 10 if we are going to get in the play-offs.
“There’s no reason why we can’t and we take the next game on its merits. Going to bottom of the league Wisbech won’t be easy, but hopefully we can get the three points.
“The supporters have been brilliant. We are getting 250 plus at home on a Saturday and the away support has been magnificent – we all appreciate that. That’s why we always make sure we put a shift in.”
Frecklington was pleased with the contribution against Cleethorpes of striker Zeph Thomas, who started his third spell at the club well by scoring the goal that earned the point.
He added: “I’m delighted for him.
“I tried to sign him two or three weeks ago, but we couldn’t just get it over the line. With injuries to Mags and Wellsy I’ve managed to get him in and I thought he did brilliantly - he gave us a different option up there.
“He gave them no free headers, pinned them when he had to and got hold of it. For his first game back at this level I thought he got himself about the pitch and got his goal – that’s all you ask of a striker.”
After matches against two of the top three in the last couple of games, Frickley now face the team at the bottom as they spring back into action on a long travel to play Wisbech Town this Saturday. Another game against relegation candidates follows the following week against Newcastle Town so the Blues will be looking to finish the month back in the top five, although they have played more matches than most of the clubs round them in the league.
Forward Brad Wells gave the club a boost when he made an earlier than expected return from injury to be on the bench for the Cleethorpes game. He came on to play the second half and the manager is hoping defender Tom Davie and striker Jonny Margetts can follow suit by making a return from injury in the next few weeks.