Preview: Bateman eyes second spot ahead of Hanwell clash

Steve Bateman

Steve Bateman

  • Moles set to host Hanwell in final game of regular season
  • Win would guarantee Moles a home game in next Tuesday’s play-off semi-final
  • Bateman confident despite injury worries
0
Have your say

Aylesbury FC manager Steve Bateman says he is “desperate” to beat Hanwell Town this weekend and finish second in Division One Central to guarantee a home semi-final in the play-offs.

A goalless draw away at Northwood last weekend secured the Moles a play-off place, but Bateman is keen for his side not to rest on their laurels and beat Hanwell this weekend.

“Second guarantees you home regardless,” Bateman said. “But if it’s third or fourth then so be it.

“We’ve shown we can win home and away. I’d much to prefer to play at home because it’s easier for everybody and familiar surroundings.

“We’ll see what this week throws up and come 5pm Saturday we’ll be absolutely sure. I’m desperate to chase down second because Royston have a tough trip to Rugby on the final day, so there’s still a lot to play for.

“Thankfully, whatever happens, we’re in the play-offs and now we want to have a real good go at them.”

Brian Haule sustained a groin injury during Saturday's draw at Northwood and is a doubt for this weekend's clash against Hanwell

Brian Haule sustained a groin injury during Saturday's draw at Northwood and is a doubt for this weekend's clash against Hanwell

Bateman feels much of FC’s success this season is down to the strength in depth of his squad, which has seen them remain in the top three despite recent injury problems.

He added: “At the moment it looks unlikely that we’ll have a fully-fit squad for the play-offs.

“Brian Haule suffered a groin injury on Saturday, we’ll see how that responds. We already had Ryan O’Toole and Kyle Anthony nursing injuries and my son Ben has been out for five weeks but he’s coming back.

“But whatever we put out, the reason we’ve achieved what we have done this year is down to the strength of the squad. The pool of players we’ve had available to us have been excellent regardless of who’s started.

“It’ll be disappointing for those who don’t make it due to injury but it’s an opportunity for others. I’m not unduly worried, we now have a few days to work hard and focus on getting a result on Saturday, which would be a real bonus to make sure we finish at least third and possibly second.”

The play-off semi-finals take place next Tuesday with the second-placed team hosting whoever finishes fifth and the third-placed team at home to fourth. The final will then take place on May 4.