Croydon boss Liam Giles: The project this year was clear - we want to finish in the top four and although we have already lost five I still firmly believe we are still contenders to win it
CROYDON manager Liam Giles says there are nine clubs involved in the top-four battle for promotion.
The Trams sit in sixth-place in the Sea Pioneer Southern Counties East Football League First Division table with 29 points from their 16 league outings and are only three points adrift of the promotion zone.
Lee Roots’ Holmesdale are in fourth-place and have only conceded nine league goals in their 15 league outings, which is the best defensively record in the League’s two tiers.
Croydon have won their last three league games by beating Snodland (2-1); Lydd Town (2-1) and beat Forest Hill Park 2-1 at Croydon Sports Arena in their last outing on 21 December.
“If it wasn’t for their keeper being in very good form we could have had a couple more that day,” said Giles.
“Forest Hill have improved and I can see why they have been getting results lately.”
The Trams welcome the side immediately below them in the table, with Stansfeld collecting 28 points this season.
“Tomorrow we face an inform Stansfeld, who sit just below us in the table,” said Giles.
“We expect it to be a tough game and I believe it will come down to who wants it more on the day.
“I believe we are sitting in a good position in the league. The project this year was clear - we want to finish in the top four and although we have already lost five I still firmly believe we are still contenders to win it.
“It’s a strange league, anyone on their day can beat anyone and for me it’s anyone’s out of the top nine for the taking and I believe it will go to the wire for those top four positions.
“We faced a real injury crisis in October and November and it took its toll but we now have near enough a full squad to pick from with Mohammed Dabo and Hanif Charles-Berry the only two left still out injured, although both are key members to our squad.
“We have brought in Trey Daley and Damiola Olorunnisomo both from Whyteleafe, Leonel Medrado has returned after a short spell at Guildford City.
“We have also brought back Richard White, who was last years skipper when I took over, who has been playing for our Sunday team this year due to commitment reasons.
“Josh Owen and Archie Todd have also joined us from Lewisham Borough so we’ve had a fair few changes but we seem to have got back on our feet after three straight league defeats and we hope to take that momentum into the New Year.
“We have a real tough schedule coming up playing four of the top eight in our next four games. I believe this will really show us where we are at and I am confident my boys will be up for the challenge.”
Croydon's top goalscorer this season is Andy Somo (12), while Ryan Hassan leads Stansfeld's goalscoring charts with eight.
Croydon v Stansfeld
Sea Pioneer Southern Counties East Football League First Division
Saturday 4 January 2020
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Croydon Sports Arena, Albert Road, South Norwood, London SE25 4QL