Holleran calls on Brakes to be ruthless in their pursuit of runners-up spot

Leamington manager Paul Holleran was not too downhearted despite seeing his side's title challenge petering out last Saturday with a 0-0 draw at home to Kings Langley.

Ahmed Obeng shows his disappointment after being denied by Kings Langley Xavi Comas. Picture: Morris Troughton
Ahmed Obeng shows his disappointment after being denied by Kings Langley Xavi Comas. Picture: Morris Troughton

Brakes’ second successive blank left them eight points behind Southern League leaders Chippenham with three matches to play and assured of a play-off spot but Holleran refused to accept there was nothing left to play for.

“We’ve still got business to attend to,” said Holleran.

“We need another three points to secure a home game in the play-offs.”

After working so hard to stay on the coat-tails of Chippenham since the turn of the year, there has inevitably been a sense of anti-climax at the way Brakes’ title challenge has floundered.

Winnable home games against Frome and Kings Langley have garnered just a single point and no goals scored and while Holleran felt his side failed to reach the required levels in the defeat to Frome, he had no such criticisms for last Saturday’s goalless draw.

“We’ve got to be more ruthless but in terms of the level of performance I can’t complain. Usually that level of performance would get you a 3-0 win.

“I’ve watched the full 90 minutes back and looked at the performance and there was not a fat lot wrong.

“We played a lot of football, created a lot of chances and had total control of the game.

“The area we have got to improve on is that we have got to be more ruthless and we worked on some things on Tuesday night and sharpened up our set plays.”

With a handy six-point advantage over Hitchin and Slough, a point may be enough to secure second place and a coveted home tie for both the play-off semi-final and final.

However, Holleran is expecting no favours from their bank holiday weekend opponents, with today’s (Friday’s) hosts Biggleswade and Easter Monday visitors Banbury lying second and third in the form table.

“They are two of the form teams in the league,” said Holleran.

“Biggleswade will be chasing their highest finish and it should be great on Easter Monday.

“Ronnie Johnson has really turned Banbury around.

“They’re a community-based club and well supported and it’s good to see clubs like that doing well.

“We want Banbury turning up in good numbers and playing for something.

“We could need the points to get a home draw and they will be chasing a win for a play-off place.

“It could mean a lot to both clubs.”

Holleran hopes to have Jordan Goddard available for selection for Biggleswade today after the midfielder sat out the Kings Langley draw with an injury to a big toe.

Joe Magunda is also pressing for a starting berth after being dropped to the bench as a precautionary measure last Saturday.

“We don’t want the same situation as last year for the play-offs where we were struggling to get 16 players together.

“And with Stefan (Moore) coming in we’ve got options all over.

“For the first time for a long time you’re struggling to name the strongest XI.”