Crunch clashes to help Walsham escape relegation

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WALSHAM-LE-WILLOWS’ season could be turned on its head by the time cold turkey and pickle is served on Boxing Day, according to manager Paul Smith.

The Willows currently languish in the Ridgeons League Premier Division relegation zone, but have four of their next five games against sides they could be challenging for survival.

That run starts at fifth-bottom Felixstowe and Walton United tomorrow (3pm) and includes two clashes with fourth-bottom Wivenhoe Town on December 3 (away) and December 17 (home) before ending at out-of-form Diss Town on Boxing Day.

Also in the mix is the visit of title-chasing Wisbech Town on December 10, but Smith is focused on the other four clashes and said: “They are the sorts of games you have got to win.

“If we can win the games in hand we have, we can move halfway up the league, but we need to start winning more games.

“We are playing okay and are not really a bottom three team, but the league doesn’t lie – we are doing something wrong and have to put it right.”

Most eyes would immediately be drawn to the low number in the Willows’ goals for column — their 18 strikes being the equal lowest in the league with bottom side Great Yarmouth Town — but Smith looks set to be able to call on the services of top scorer James Tatham for the first time in six weeks at Felixstowe tomorrow, while forward Ollie Hughes is also closing in on a return to the fold.

And with the duo back in the frame to link up with new signings Will Brown and Ryan Foster for the first time, Smith has predicted a reversal in fortunes.

“This period up to Christmas could be the real turning point of our season,” he said. “If we can come out after Christmas with our heads held high, we will put ourselves in a good position for the rest of the season.”