December games vital to Wolfpack’s season aims
Ollie Smith doesn’t want to end up in league purgatory, damned to finish in mid-table limbo, writes Hannah Dolman.
But that is the likely outcome if the team do not come through a vital Christmas period, he has warned.
“The next few weeks are probably our most critical part of the season,” Smith said.
“This is often the time when the top teams are singled out and start to pull away from everyone else – and we want to be one of them.
“The last thing we want is to be cast adrift in the league, too far from the bottom to be in danger but too far from the top to compete.
“If we are within touching distance, we can make a real push after Christmas.
“If we’re not, our season is effectively over, we’ll be in limbo.
“That would be a horrible position to be in with so many games left but nothing to play for. So that’s the message I’m going to be repeating before our next three fixtures.”
The next three fixtures take the team to their December 23 match, when they host Broadstreet at home.
“We can’t do anymore than win the next three games,” he said. “But that’s what I want to see.”
Their next three games in the National League Two South begin with Saturday’s away fixture to Redingensians (2pm).
The Reading-based side are separated from Bury in the league by just a single point, with the winner claiming fourth spot.
It would be the highest the Wolfpack have been in the league this season.
Smith has also targeted a positive result the following weeks, a home game against league leaders Chinnor followed by an away game to second-placed Cinderford (2.30pm).
“Look, we can still win the league,” he said.
“Provided we beat everyone from now until the end of the season, it’s that simple.
“If we can put winning scores past these top three teams then we are still in it.
“It won’t be easy, they are very good sides which is why they’re at the top.
“But it’s also an opportunity to close that gap between us.”
He said consistency was part of the problem for his side from game to game, and so it was hard for him to predict the outcome of these upcoming fixtures.
“We seem to be either really firing, or we look like quite a poor team,” he said.
“There’s a number of reasons for that, and we’re working on it, but inconsistency is a problem of ours.
“We have the ability, and we’ve shown that already this season, to beat anyone in this league.
“We have a lot of work to do in training to be as prepared as we can be.
“Playing (and beating) fourth, second and first in the league is no easy feat.
“But I really do think we can do it. There’s still a lot to play for.”