Thursday 22nd December 2005

We crave promotion, says Hume


Unbeaten Maidstone United can go two points clear at the top of the Kentish Observer League table if they win their double header against Lordswood - but manager Lloyd Hume doesn't expect Paul Piggott's side to lay down and die, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Stones virtually booked their place in the last eight of the Kentish Observer League Cup with a 3-0 win over their west Kent rivals Tunbridge Wells at Culverden Stadium on Wednesday night.  They need just one more win from their remaining two group C games to qualify with VCD Athletic.

But as league leaders Beckenham Town don't play a league game until their trip to Martin Ford's VCD Athletic on 14th January, Hume wants his side to take full advantage over the festive period.

They travel to North Dane Way on Tuesday 27th December (3pm), and play the return fixture on Monday 2nd January at Bourne Park.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk, Hume said: "The Christmas period is always hard for everyone.  For me Lordswood is a very hard place to go.  It's a very small, tight pitch and are always a hard team to beat.

"Whilst we won there last year it was a very tough fixture for us and we expect no less this year they're a better side.

"But I'm expecting us to win both games and I've said all along, and that includes Beckenham, or whoever we're playing, if we perform to our maximum potential we will always win.  If we drop below par teams will beat us.

"We expect the players to be professional over Christmas.  We expect them to have a good time and to have a drink but expect them to look after themselves."

Hume, however, played down the prospect of a two-horse race for the title with the Eden Park Avenue outfit, and insisted other teams may become involved in the second half of the season.

Beckenham enjoy a four point lead over the Stones going into the festive period - having played two more games - and they'll be hoping Maidstone slip up against the Medway side.

So what can we expect from Hume's side during 2006?  "I think promotion at the very least," replied Hume.  "A lot of people are now saying it's a two-horse race for the title but I don't believe that at all.

"I believe there will be twists and turns, things will change and it's still unclear how many teams go up.  We just have to concentrate on our own performances and our own games and if we can win the same amount of points in the second half of the season as the first we will go on and win the league and that's the important thing for us."

Now in their fifth season in the Kent League, where they've never finished outside the top four, Maidstone United will grace Ryman League Division One football next year if they get the green light for promotion.

"We need promotion, the club needs promotion, the fans deserve it, the chairman certainly deserves it and the club craves it," said Hume.

"It's one of those clubs once it takes the next step up it will have another level of interest with the ground coming and so on, and it will move Maidstone in the right direction.  I think that's what's happening anyway.

"I just hope and I'm sure we will get there at the end of the season and play at a better level of football.

"We've always said, Alan (Walker) and I have always worked at a higher level and that's no disrespect to this level.

"We know a lot more players at the levels when we move up and we're taking to players now for next year.  We hope we're not pre-empting anything but players have promised us if we make the next standard of football they'll come and play for us, and their players we've known who can do a very good job."

Lordswood v Maidstone United
Kentish Observer League
Tuesday 27th December 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at North Dane Way, Walderslade, Chatham