Thursday 08th December 2005

I'm not even thinking about relegation, says Thorogood

Ashford Town's manager/owner Tim Thorogood calls upon supporters to attend Saturday's Kent derby against Ramsgate to watch his resurgent team in action, writes Stephen McCartney.

Although his side are in the bottom four in the Ryman League Division One table, and went down to a 2-0 defeat at Cray Wanderers on Tuesday night, the side showed promise with left sided midfielder Solomon Henry impressing.

But the Homelands outfit have failed to win on their travels after ten attempts, but Thorogood, whose side recently drew 1-1 against Leatherhead and Banstead Athletic, remains upbeat.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk, he said: "We're down on our luck a bit at the moment but confidence is not a problem.  You could see that (against Cray Wanderers) - we out played them.

Experienced striker Gary Abbott scored his eighth goal of the season after 15 minutes, and Henry headed Joby Thorogood's cross against the post seven minutes later, and Ashford did create a couple of good chances to draw level.

But Jamie Kempster's second goal of the season with five minutes left gave Ian Jenkins' side all three points, moving them into eleventh place.

"Cray are a good side," admitted Thorogood.  "To be honest with you footballing wise they are the best team in the league and they pass and move (the ball) really well.

"Even they admitted they were lucky to come away with anything."

Jim Ward brings his Ramsgate side to Homelands sitting in sixth place, and after losing 1-0 to Walton Casuals last Saturday, the Rams came back from Kingstonian with a 1-1 draw two days later.

But Thorogood is relishing the Kent derby, and is looking for a big crowd to get behind his improving team.

He said:  "It's a big game and I want the local fans to turn out for us because that's something we've been short on for the last two seasons as they've stayed away."

He admitted his players will pull on the lime green shirt and scrap for points.  "There will be no less passion against Ramsgate as there was against Cray Wanderers," he said.  "I think it's a massive game for us and we want to win."

After two years of despair, which has seen their average home attendance drop with just 1,655 fans watching their ten league games at Homelands this season, Thorogood is hoping 2006 brings a change in fortunes for his club.

"Let's be fair it can only get better can't it?" he replied.  "We're in exactly the same situation we were last year but not quite as dire as everyone's taking points of each other.

"But derbies are always a little bit special and you do want your own crowd to come and support you.  We do want to put on a good show and a good performance for them.

"It's going to be a tough road," he said.  "The real truth is we're going to bring in one or two players and it will change.

"There is no doubt everyone is seeing the difference as far as we're concerned.   We're going to see some better performances, we will get results, get a bit more momentum and I think we just need a win and that will drag people through and our confidence will rise.

"The problem at the moment is we probably don't believe we can win matches.  But we know we can compete."

With only Newport IOW, Corinthian-Casuals and Burgess Hill Town below them in the table, and only four points separating the Kent side from the foot of the table, Thorogood, however, rules out the possibility of relegation, despite escaping by just one point last season.

"What this team will do is show commitment and that's the difference we've got now," he said.  

"I tell you now if this side goes down I will be gobsmacked.  I don't think we will and everybody who I know has said they can't believe the position we're in with the quality of the side we've got.

"We are by far better than a lot of the sides that are down there, but don't kid yourself, you might be the better side, you still have to get the results.  End of.

"But at the end of the day it's all about results as far as I'm concerned.  I'm not even thinking about relegation.  I still think we can go on a run, string a lot of good results and things will change."

Ashford Town v Ramsgate
Ryman League Division One
Saturday 10th December 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Homelands, Ashford Road, Kingsnorth, Ashford