Yes, we're underachieving, admits Cray Valley player-boss Paul Gross
CRAY VALLEY (Paper Mills) player-manager Paul Gross admits his side have been underachieving in the league this season.
The Millers are sitting in thirteenth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League table on 27 points from 20 games and welcome title chasing Greenwich Borough tomorrow.
Greenwich Borough have secured a 30-year deal to share Badgers Sports Ground in Eltham starting from next season and are second in the table, four points behind leaders Hollands & Blair, with a game in hand.
The Millers, though, defeated Deal Town 1-0 on a bitterly cold night on Wednesday to join Croydon, Erith & Belvedere and Hollands & Blair in the Macron Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Semi-Finals.
Left-back Adam Gross sealed progress with a beautiful top-corner free-kick in the 50th minute in a game where his older brother handed former Dulwich Hamlet and Kingstonian winger Dean Lodge his debut.
“We’ll turn up and do what we’ve got to do and hopefully give a good account of ourselves and play as we know we can,” Gross said ahead of the visit of Borough.
“They’ve got different ambitions to us at this stage. I’d have loved to have been up there fighting it out with them. It’s not to be but let’s see what we can do.
“Let’s turn up, play and play with a smile on our faces again and see if we can get a result.”
Only 10 points separate fourth-placed Lordswood (33 points) and fourth-from-bottom side Rochester United.
“The league is crazy this year because two wins puts you fourth. Lordswood are fourth on 33 points so it’s amazing what a run of results can do,” said the Millers manager.
“Underachieving? Yes, of course, anyone below first would say they’re underachieving because we’re trying to win it, so yes we’re underachieving but we’ll talk at the end of the season and then I’ll give an opinion if we’re underachieving or not.”
A team that contain highly-rated wingers Rory Hill and Lodge should be challenging for the league title.
“Where would I like to finish? Last year in my first year we finished seventh, a point behind sixth.
“Can we top that? It’s going to take something. We’ll have to go on a little bit of a run, which we haven’t managed to do all season. Can we top that and get above seventh? Again, let’s talk again in April-May and we’ll see where we’re at.”
Croydon booked their place in the Semi-Finals with a shock 1-0 win over Greenwich Borough at Croydon Sports Arena on Wednesday night.
Greenwich Borough manager Gary Alexander said: “Wednesday night against Croydon was a good learning curve.
“We made changes, played a few youngsters who came out of the game as positives.
“It’s never nice to lose games but it’s how we bounce back and react to disappointment.”
Looking forward to tomorrow’s derby, Alexander added: “Like every game in this league Cray Valley will be a tough test. They have had some good results in recent weeks so I expect things to be no different.
“We have to be on our game to keep our league run going.
“We can only go to Cray hopefully perform and keep the pressure up on Hollands & Blair. They’re top and the team to catch and the only way to do that is by winning games and hope they falter – it’s theirs to lose.”
Visit Cray Valley’s website: www.cray-valley.co.uk
Visit Greenwich Borough’s website: www.greenwichboroughfc.co.uk
Cray Valley (Paper Mills) v Greenwich Borough
Southern Counties East Football League
Saturday 6th February 2016
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Badgers Sports Ground, Middle Park Avenue, Eltham, London SE9 5HT
Article published: 19:45 – Friday 5th February 2016