We've had a decent start, says Cray Wanderers boss Tony Russell
CRAY WANDERERS’ manager Tony Russell says he is not taking any notice of the league table for another four games.
The Wands are sitting proudly at the top of the Ryman League Division One North table on 26 points after 11 games, after thrashing struggling Redbridge 5-0 at Hayes Lane on Sunday afternoon.
But Cray Wanderers face a striker injury crisis with Andre McCollin (bruised knee) being joined on the Ally Maloney’s treatment table by winger Malik Ouani (hamstring) and Leigh Bremner (groin) on Sunday.
Assistant manager, Ray Powell, 35, came off the bench at half-time and scored two goals to help inflict Redbridge’s tenth defeat on the bounce.
But The Wands have scored 32 goals in their 11 league outings – the best scoring form in the top eight divisions of English football.
Russell is concerned that ten-goal striker McCollin, who was playing for Aldershot Town last season, is ruled out for tonight’s home clash against second-placed Thamesmead Town.
“Andre got an impact injury against Great Wakering, the guy took him knee height, it wasn’t the greatest tackle I’ve ever seen,” said Russell.
“He’s got a bruised knee. With impact injuries he could wake up and it could be fine but at the moment it’s not. It’s getting better, the swelling’s gone down but at the moment it’s not. There’s no internal damage. What the physio seems to think there’s bruising on the knee so we’ve just got to suck it and see and see how he is.
“He’s a lot better, he’s running, it’s just whether Tuesday’s game comes too soon for him, I don’t know, we’ll see.”
Cray Wanderers are three points clear of Terry Spillane’s side ahead of today’s top-of-the-table clash.
“I played for Thamesmead and then I went to Cray funnily enough,” reflected Russell.
“Like I said to you before, I wasn’t just saying it, the league table at the moment, it’s not something I take too much notice in.
“The club have mentioned it and are getting more excited about it than us.
“It’s so early in the piece, it’s not even worth looking at it.
“The table is just starting to take shape, that’s what I’d say. If you’re looking at the movers and shakers at the moment but there’s so long to go.
“Look at us, we’re going through a period at the moment of getting lots of injuries, other teams have the same things, you have flat spells.
“What I tend to do – I spoke to a manager a few years ago – you go 15 games in and then you look at it and that’s when you re-asses your targets from there.
“At the beginning of the season everyone wants to try to win the league, of course and then you get 15 games in and last year (at VCD Athletic) after 15 games you think ‘we need to stay up, forget the play-offs.’ That’s the main focus.
“We are 11 games in, 15 games in I’ll sit down and look. I’m hoping that 15 games I can sit down and say yes, let’s try to win this but I couldn’t tell you whoever else is up there, who was fourth, I haven’t really looked at it.
“We’ve had a decent start.”
Cray Wanderers maintained their Ryman League status after former boss Tommy Warrilow and his assistant Alex O’Brien pulled off The Great Escape by winning a club record ten games on the spin at the end of last season.
The club have won their last 12 game at Hayes Lane (including last season) and Thamesmead Town arrive unbeaten on their travels in the league this season.
“Me and Razor (Ray Powell) came into a club that’s just avoided relegation and you almost come in under a cloud because Tommy and OB done so well.
“It was important that all their hard work to keep them up – now we take it and go with a level playing field with everyone on zero points, now we have a right go.
“It’s a lovely pitch here, it’s a real nice pitch. It suits our style of play. It’s a nice big pitch as well, which isolates people. We can pass it so I think we’re very strong at home but to be fair there will be together tests than Redbridge.”
Thamesmead Town striker Tyrus Gordon-Young has scored six goals this season and he played for Russell when they were at Erith Town together.
“I think they will play to their strengths. They’ve got a lot of pace going forward. They try to get it forward early and use that pace and they’ve got a good solid defence,” said Russell.
“I speak to Jack Hopkins – that’s Lea Dawson’s cousin – and Hoppo said ’it’s the best it’s ever been down there. There’s a real good atmosphere, a real good buzz and they’re really getting on with the manager.’
“Hoppo’s been there a long time, to say that, I was a bit taken back.
“They’re going to come and have a right go. They’ve got a lot of togetherness. I’ve watched them and they’ve got some good players.
“I know Tyrus, we brought him through at Erith Town from Charlton’s community team, so I know everything what Tyrus will bring. He’s a handful on his day and we’ll be looking to put one over on us without a doubt.”
Meanwhile, season ticket holders of Crystal Palace can watch this game for FREE.
Visit Cray Wanderers’ website: www.cray-wanderers.com
Cray Wanderers v Thamesmead Town
Ryman League Division One North
Tuesday 29th September 2015
Kick Off 7:45pm
At Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF