Lowestoft ready for long home stretch

PUBLISHED: 10:49 26 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:30 06 July 2010

Lowestoft Town will need every member of their squad as they embark on a relentless, but crucial, run of fixtures.

In the next 15 days, the Blues will play a remarkable eight times - seven in the league and once in the Championship Manager Cup.

Lowestoft Town will need every member of their squad as they embark on a relentless, but crucial, run of fixtures.

In the next 15 days, the Blues will play a remarkable eight times - seven in the league and once in the Championship Manager Cup.

The run begins with Enfield Town at home tomorrow, before away games at Concord Rangers on Tuesday, at Croydon Athletic on Thursday in the rearranged cup clash, and then Great Wakering Rovers away on Saturday.

The following week, there are games on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday once more. It's a pattern the Blues might face later in the season too, with the league set to be completed by April 24.

With players coming back from injury, and an almost fully fit squad the Town management team of Micky Chapman, Ady Gallagher and Craig Fleming have got some big selection issues ahead - but Chapman expects his men to stand-up to the daunting fixture list.

“Every player wants to play but it's a nice position to be in for management, although there's going to be some disappointed people,” he said.

“It's part and parcel of having a big squad but we've got to deal with that.

“We're getting players back from injury now. Scott Mitchell's back. Jack Marsden back and looking really sharp in training but needs games to get his match fitness back. Bradley Hough is now back with reserves and doing well.

“Richard Woodrow's still out. Dale Cockrill may be back this weekend, although Darren Cockrill's unavailable because of work commitments. Jamie Godbold might also be back quicker than expected too.

“The only long-term casualty is Woody. Matt Halliday is back and Ross King is now back in contention because his job situation has let up a bit so he's going to start training with us again.

“He made it very clear to us about work but he's a key member of our squad. It's like a new signing and he's back amongst it and he'll probably have a couple of games with the reserves.”

“But the reality of it is with games coming thick and fast, we're going to be playing Saturday-Tuesday- Thursday-Saturday.”

The schedule facing the Blues would be more than enough to get most managers, especially those in the professional game, moaning.

But Chapman and co appear to be relishing the task as they look to build on their six point advantage at the top of the league.

“When you get four games in eight days, you're going to need a big squad, because it's no good asking just 11 players to play and start every game in a week because you can't do it,” he said.

“Physically you can't do it and you can't be at your best.

“The standards we set are high, the standards the lads set themselves are high and the expectations are high so we do need a big squad.”

And Chapman insists that the Blues preference for a big squad will pay dividends as the Ryman League Division One North leaders look to end their season with the championship trophy firmly in their graps.

“We've said all along that if we're going to win anything and be successful we do it with a squad,” he said.

“It's to be expected that when you've got a big squad you can't play everybody and people have got to be patient. When a player does come in it's down to him to make it difficult for us to leave him out again.

“Any player that comes here is part of a squad. We've always made that clear and there's never been any exception.

“It's a great position to be in and we've got a great pool of players and we're going to need them in the last months of the season.”

The Blues have only lost two games in the league all season, both at home, to strugglers Ilford and Ware respectively.

But Chapman admits, it's getting tougher and tougher to win games in the division, especially as word has travelled about the Blues' abilty.

“I think sides know what we're about now,” he said.

“There's a lot of chat about us doing this and already having won the league, which we don't listen to.

“There's a lot of chat about that and silly stuff, because there's still so much football left to be played.

“We've got 16 games left and a lot can happen in 16 games. We're certainly not taking anything for granted and not looking any further than the next game.

“But because there's so much chat about Lowestoft this and Lowestoft that, every side wants some of you and raise their game even more.

“I think sides are so aware of us and know they've got to raise their game because we can hurt them, but I think are lot of people are forgetting there are a lot of good sides in this league and some good players.

“It's a tough league and if you start taking your eye off the ball you can soon come unstuck. What we don't want to do is start undoing the good work we've done up until now.

“The boys have played themselves into this position and been different class week in, week out.”

Town's last sticky moment in the league came earlier in the month with a loss to Ware.

Since then they have won three game on the spin, and Chapman believes their recovery from the blip has been all important.

“You're going to get one or two little blips, and that happens at the highest level, but it's how you respond to those blips and so far, we've responded in the right manner and got straight back on it in the next game,” he said.

“We aren't going to let the boys take their eyes off the ball and lose focus because we know what we want to achieve.

“We've got ourselves in a good position but we've got a job to finish and that job isn't finished until the last game of the season.”

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