Bateman content with start as promotion remains FC’s goal

Steve Bateman
Steve Bateman

Moles boss Steve Bateman remains confident his Aylesbury FC side can challenge for promotion after their “steady if not spectacular” start to this season’s campaign.

Having come so close last year, Bateman was again targeting another promotion tilt this season and with Aylesbury currently fourth in Division One Central with 18 points from 10 games, he’s confident his side will be up there come the end of the season.

When asked if promotion was a realistic goal, Bateman replied: “Yes, absolutely. No one thus far has got a real grip of the league. We’ve got to try and make sure we get some momentum and build on it.

“I think we’ve made a steady if not spectacular start.

“We’ve been a little bit frustrated by a couple of games like Fleet Town at home and Chalfont St Peter away when we were fairly comfortable and had the lead but we’ve only managed to come out with a point from those two matches.

“There’s nothing in this division that I look at and think ‘we can’t compete with that’ but the challenge to the players is to be consistent and making sure we don’t take our eye off the ball. We were 3-1 up at home to Fleet and it could have been six or seven but instead five minutes of madness meant we dropped points.

“The side who is going to get out of this league can’t do that and we know we have to stay focussed for 90 minutes.

“I can’t see an outstanding side in the division that worries me so we’ve just got to get our heads down and build on what we’ve done so far.

“I’m pleased generally. We’ve been hard to beat in those games where we’ve dropped points but we have been guilty of loss of concentration and focus which we’ve paid the price for.”

The Moles eased through in the FA Trophy at the weekend when a brace from Brian Haule plus Grant Fryer’s header saw them to a 3-0 win over Hythe Town at Haywood Way.

Bateman added: “I’m pleased to have progressed in the FA Trophy. I thought it was a comfortable and professional performance against a team who play in the Ryman South, the same level as ourselves.

“We dealt with them comfortably. We got ourselves on top and we matched their work ethic. Our extra quality was the difference on the day.

“At 3-0 up we didn’t just sit back, we tried to see the game out and created chances and could have scored again but we were also very solid and I can’t remember, apart from one save early, James Weatherill having anything to do.

Next up for Aylesbury is a trip to Potters Bar Town in the league on Saturday and Bateman is hopeful of having Gareth Price back from injury.

He continued: “I have a few selection headaches because everybody is starting to come back into the fold.”

“Gareth has been out since the game against Risborough with a torn groin but he’s back in training this week and we’ll be looking to do something with him at the weekend.

“We’ve got good options and good cover available. We had a lot of pace and energy last season and end product from wide areas and I think we’ve lacked that a little bit at times so far this year.

“The development side has already started to play dividends. It’s giving our young lads a platform to step into the senior stuff and we’ve been able to put one or two players who are coming back from injury into the team.”