Cray Wanderers will know by mid to late Jan what will happen to the ground so for this football club this January is going to be massive, says Tony Russell

Wednesday 03rd January 2018

CRAY WANDERERS manager Tony Russell says he’s feeling excited with what is facing him this month.

The Wands are in second-place in the Bostik South Division with 55 points from their 26 league games, two points adrift of Lewes – the only side to beat them in the League this season – and with a game in hand.

After their 1-1 draw at struggling Molesey on 23 December, Russell’s side thrashed basement side Shoreham 7-0 at Hayes Lane on Boxing Day, defeated Faversham Town 4-2 at home on 30 December and grafted to a point in a goal-les draw at their promotion rivals Greenwich Borough on New Years Day.

Russell blamed fatigue after picking up a couple of injuries to Michael Frieter (quad) and Aaron Rhule (hamstring) against Gary Alexander’s side on 1 January but the side will train tonight ahead of Sunday’s home clash against fifth-placed side Walton Casuals.

Russell said: “Anthony Gale has got them going.  They play on a 3G pitch as well so I don’t have to hear that rubbish!

“Everyone up there are decent, more importantly we’ve got six days rest, which we can’t wait for.  We’ll get them in tonight, we’ll have a light training session and come up with a game plan and more importantly we can rest the players.

“We’ve got a massive month ahead and suddenly we’ll be fresh.  They’re a good side but I back us against anyone.”

Cray Wanderers will then have home advantage again when VCD Athletic visit Hayes Lane next Wednesday 10 January (19:45).

Russell said he is relishing facing his former club.

“We haven’t played them this season, it keeps getting put off,” said Russell.

“It would be nice to see some old faces.  That club will always be special to me for what we’ve done.

“I took my car into Rumpy (chairman Gary Rump) a few months ago to get my breaks done and it was like old times, it was brilliant!

“We became very close in those times because we had that success out of the Kent League and won the thing (Ryman League Division One North title) and stayed up in the Ryman. It was just a magical period. I’m lucky to experience all that success in that short period of time.

“I’ll always love that club. They were brilliant to me. They gave me a chance when I was at Erith Town. It will be lovely to see them. Unfortunately, I want to win but after that I want them to win the rest of their games.”

With 20 league games remaining, there is everything to play for in an exciting promotion race.

“I don’t really take much notice of the table, honestly, I couldn’t even tell you what people are on.  I only know we’re second because it’s on the Cray Facebook page,” said Russell.

“There’s a lot of twists and turns.  I still believe if you finish above Greenwich Borough you’re pretty close of going up.  I think they’re a fantastic side.  I know Gary (Alexander) has got a few out as well, he’s a very good manager as well.  If you finish above those you’re close to getting promotion.

“Now I don’t even worry about it.  What will be will be.  I don’t want to be one of those stressed out wrinkly old managers in 10 years’ time.

“Like I said to the club, I will give them everything I’ve got! I’ll put every bit of time and effort that I’ve got to give them every chance to win a game of football and where that ends up…

“We haven’t played everyone. We’ve still haven’t played Walton Casuals, VCD, Ashford, Guernsey. This League is crazy! We’ve got 20 games left, it’s ridiculous!

“But what I will say is I personally believe I have got a very good side. I’ve got a very good squad, that’s what I know.  I can only deal with the facts that I know.”

When asked what 2018 can bring Cray Wanderers, Russell replied: “We’ll play some good football.  I think it’s exciting, what a month for this football club on and off the pitch.

“We’ve got seven games, we find out about the ground so after these games we’ll know exactly where we are then.  We play Lewes at home (20 January) and the club will know by mid to late Jan what will happen to the ground so for this football club this January is going to be massive!”

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Cray Wanderers  v  Walton Casuals
Bostik South Division
Sunday 7 January 2018
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF