Wealdstone boss targets top three finish
PUBLISHED: 14:35 03 April 2013 | UPDATED: 14:35 03 April 2013
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Wealdstone boss Gordon Bartlett is “fairly confident” of a play-off place after his side ended a hectic week with 10 points from a possible 12.
Stones followed up back-to-back victories over promotion rivals Margate and Concord Rangers with a disappointing 1-1 draw against Wingate & Finchley on Saturday.
But they regained the winning habit with a 2-0 success in Easter Monday’s derby clash with Harrow Borough to retain second place and a healthy lead over the sides currently outside the play-off spots.
Chasing down leaders Whitehawk – who have an 10-point advantage but have played four more games – looks a tall order, but Bartlett’s next aim is to secure a home play-off tie by finishing in the top three.
“Before we started, if you’d offered me 10 points in seven days I’d have gratefully accepted,” the Wealdstone boss admitted. “Now we’ve done that and come through pretty much unscathed.
“It’s important we’ve now got a few days to recharge the batteries and then go again for the remainder of the season. There’s another 21 points available.
“The good news is we’re more than 10 points clear of sixth place, which gives us a little bit of a cushion. It doesn’t ensure a play-off place, but you can be fairly confident you’re going to go into a play-off situation.
“Now we want second or third place. The sooner we can secure that, we’ll have a look and see if we’ve still got a chance of catching Whitehawk, Lowestoft, or whoever it may be.”
Bartlett’s side face a tricky double header against play-off contenders Bury Town, who visit Grosvenor Vale in a rearranged game on Tuesday, just three days after the sides’ first meeting in Suffolk.
Wealdstone expect midfielder Tom Pett to be fit despite limping off with a shin injury against Borough, while Peter Dean should also return to the squad after missing out on Monday through illness.
The Stones manager has indicated that he will continue his recent policy of squad rotation to cope with a heavy fixture schedule, although former QPR midfielder Stefan Bailey may still not be fit enough to feature.
“I decided not to use him straight away because he wasn’t 100 per cent fit,” Bartlett explained. “So far we’ve only seen him in half a reserve game.
“He’s got a bit of experience and he’s a very strong boy who can play the holding role in the middle of the park. He’s got a good engine and he can get forward.
“We needed to thicken it up because of suspensions and players being unavailable. Whether we use them [the new faces], whether they start or not, it’s bolstered the squad.
“But we’ll probably have different personnel again for Bury. They’ve been going very well until they lost on Monday, and I expect a difficult game there – and another one down here.”
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