Holleran: Brakes are punching above their weight

Brakes boss Paul Holleran says his side have already exceeded expectations irrespective of the outcome of the play-offs.

Leamington went into last night’s play-off semi-final at Hednesford having come fifth in the Zamaretto Premier Division, a massive seven points clear of nearest-challengers Chesham.

It proved a perfect response to those who wrote off his side’s chances of challenging at the top end of the table following a slow start to the campaign.

“When we lost to Tiverton we had eight points from seven games and a lot of people were concerned we wouldn’t get to 45 points,” admitted Holleran.

However, a haul of 70 points from a possible 99 catapulted Brakes into the top five, with James Rowe, Jamie Hood, Stephan Morley and Jacob Blyth among a host of key names who were drafted in along the way.

But despite the influx of players - 29 have featured, with Tony Breeden the only ever-present - Holleran reacts angrily to suggestions Brakes have bought their way into the play-offs.

“Regardless of what you hear, we’re middle of road when it comes to budget,” said Holleran.

“There are some sides who have thrown a lot of money at it and finished nowhere. Oxford City spend more money than us and Hemel have two players we couldn’t afford.

“You go down to Truro and all 16 of their players are on contracts, with another six sat in the stands.

“Everyone here is non-contract and it makes it harder for me, but we spend our money wisely.”

Should Brakes fail in their initial bid to reach Step 2, Holleran says their play-off experience will not necessarily provide the springboard for a title tilt next season.

“The Southern League is a big, league and a tough one to get out of.

“It’s such a hard league to win and every year since I can remember, a team comes in and breaks the bank to try and win it.

“This season we had three in Truro, Salisbury and Brackley. That’s why the play-offs give you a little bit of hope.”

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