I think we can win the league. It’s going to be difficult though but I think both of the places are up for grabs, says Crowborough Athletic boss Sean Muggeridge
CROWBOROUGH ATHLETIC manager Sean Muggeridge says he has the strength in depth to cope with their fixture congestion.
The Crows are in second-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table and are 10 points behind leaders Sevenoaks Town but today’s match between the two club’s was postponed by match referee Matthew Pollington 80 minutes before kick-off owing to a waterlogged pitch.
A pitch inspection took place at 10:00 and the pitch was passed playable at the time but it was clear upon arrival that this game was never going to start due to the rain falling.
The League has decided to extend the season and have re-arranged today’s game – and Lorsdwood against Whitstable Town – which was also called off by the match referee today – and play them both on Monday 30 April.
Sevenoaks have eight games to fit in between now and then, while promotion chasing Crowborough have 10 games and third-placed Whitstable have 11 in the league and a Cup Final.
“Obviously we wanted it on, it’s quite bad out there to be honest with you,” said Muggeridge.
“It’s not how you start the game, it’s how you finish the game really. I’m absolutely gutted because we wanted to play today because of the amount of games we’ve got left.
“I don’t know if anyone’s going to praise me for saying it, but I don’t think it would’ve been a game of football out there, I’ll be honest with you. We’re both footballing managers. I just think with the amount of rain that’s coming in, I think it’s the right decision.”
While Sevenoaks Town look favourites to win the league title, the second promotion place is between Crowborough and Whitstable.
“You’d like to think promotion and winning the league is going to be down to whose the better side. The best side does actually win the league but it’s going to play a big part in everything,” Muggeridge said on the fixture pile-up.
“Sevenoaks have got their 3G so their home games are not going to be called off, which is how the club’s gone forward. It’s an advantage but it means we’re going to play Saturday-Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday for probably two weeks now and we have to get on with it!
“We’ve got the squad to do it and we’ve got the quality in depth but we have to play some of the youngsters just to get us through the games.
“We have signed a lot of 18-year-olds from our Academy, we’ve signed all of them on actually. Some of them are good enough to fill in, especially on the bench.
“I have signed someone yesterday called Solomon Taiwo from Thamesmead Town. It’s a good signing, so he’ll be cover. I’ll have Jack Walder coming back from injury, he had 10 minutes on Saturday. We’ve got Sam Crabb coming back from suspension. I’ve got Ross Treleaven coming back next week off work commitments.
“I think we’ve got the squad to do it but we’ve got seven home games, which we don’t normally struggle getting players to home games.”
Muggeridge is a firm believer that his side can still claim the league title despite having to cram in so many games within a 23 day period.
“I will never, ever until it’s mathematically (impossible) look for second place! If you think like that then you’re not a manager really because I haven’t thought that from the start. I haven’t through of it when we were 13 points adrift.
“I think we can win the league. It’s going to be difficult though but I think both of the places are up for grabs.”
Muggeridge provided an update on the club’s delayed plans to lay an artificial pitch at their Community Stadium on Fermor Road.
“We’re still hoping. I had egg on my face last year, I think, when I said it was going in (this season). I’m reluctant to do that this time but we’re working so hard behind the scenes, financially as well.
“You might’ve heard financially we are not struggling but finically we’re ok but it’s just a matter financing the pitch, its done by someone, it’s not going to be governed by the council or anything like that.
“Financially we’re struggling to try to get it in place at the moment but I do believe we are going to be in a position come the end of May to have that 3G. I said this last year and it didn’t happen because something went in the way, fences had to be moved, there’s other things that we’ve got to still be finalised with the council, car parking.”
“This club needs a 3G. If we had Sevenoaks’ 3G, I think we would’ve been a lot closer. Financially we would’ve been brilliant because it’s revenue and the youth teams and all that interest me. I’ve been a youth team manager. That is the most benefit in my eyes are the youth teams and days like this really.
“You build-up for a game and you’ve got to go home because of the pitch, it’s disappointing.
“Even if the game gets called off away you can go back and train on your (3G) pitch. We’ve got no training facility to go to so everything with a 3G apart from people who like grass. I’m one of them, I do like grass. If you can train on it and play all the time I’d have grass all day long but the benefits that you get, Sevenoaks have lost one game at home and they train on it and this is what we try to do and hopefully we will do and hopefully it’s in a different league.”
Crowborough, meanwhile, are scheduled to play Erith Town at home on Saturday, 7 April (15:00).
“We played them down there in the Cup Quarter-Final, they’re a very good side. We were 2-1 down, struggling a little bit but they’re a good footballing side, good, young and energetic, so I’m expecting another tough game.
“They’re all tough in this league. If you’re down the bottom or the top it doesn’t really matter. It’s how you perform on the day and if you’re not on it, you’re going to get turned over by these sides.”
Visit Crowborough Athletic’s website: www.pitchero.com/clubs/crowboroughathletic
Crowborough Athletic v Erith Town
Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Saturday 7 April 2018
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Crowborough Community Stadium, Fermor Road, Crowborough, East Sussex TN6 3BU