Maidstone United boss Jay Saunders: The new signings will improve us but we just need to get those wins and try to get around that 50 point mark

Monday 12th February 2018

MAIDSTONE UNITED manager Jay Saunders says his side must reach at least 50 points to secure their Vanarama National League status.

The Stones came away from seventh-placed Bromley with a good performance in a 2-2 draw, claiming a point courtesy of former Bromley winger Blair Turgott, who came off the bench to score a debut goal with 13 minutes left at Hayes Lane.

Saunders’ side remain in sixteenth-place in the table on 39 points from 32 games and are nine points clear of the relegation zone.  Saturday’s draw ensured the club extended their winless league run to 14 games but Saunders is confident Barrow will be beaten on Saturday.

“It’s a big game for us,” said Saunders, who hold home advantage on Bromley on Tuesday night in the Kent Reliance Senior Cup Semi-Finals.

“Drawing at Bromley is no good if you don’t back it up with a win! That’s the big thing for me.  That’s been our problem of late.

“We’ve gone to Aldershot and got a draw; we’ve gone to Dover and got a draw; we’ve come to Bromley and got a draw.  We’ve got some good points against teams that are up there but what we haven’t done is back it up against some of the lower sides.

“It’s a big game for us. It’s a big game. We’ve haven’t won in a lot of games. We’ve not been far off.  I think you can see at Bromley we’re not a bad side. We’re just unfortunately shipping poor goals and we’ve got to eradicate that and if we do that I’ve got no issue that we’ll get the wins we need to get us to that safety mark and kick-on.”

Bromley secured their Vanarama National League status for a fourth season as they reached the magical 51 points target that their manager Neil Smith set at the start of the season.

“I’ve always said about 50-51 points,” added Saunders, whose side are at home to Barrow at the weekend.

“When we were in the play-off places,  I had everyone going at me ‘we can get promoted!’ and I was like ‘hang on, let’s get to that 50-odd point mark’ because that’s roughly where we’re at as a club at the moment.  It’s probably midtable in this league at the moment.

“If we really excelled maybe we could kick on a little bit.  The new signings will improve us but we just need to get those wins and try to get around that 50 point mark.”

Barrow arrive in Kent sitting in the bottom five with 31 points from 30 games, a point clear of the relegation zone.

Managed by former Gillingham boss Adrian Pennock, he has recently appointed Jamie Day to join his management team, who made 13 appearances for Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division side Cray Valley as a holding midfielder before his appointment at the Cumbria based outfit.

“Do you know what, we’ve actually played better than that in recent weeks than we did at Bromley on Saturday and lost games so it’s just the fact that we’ve conceded poor goals.  We’ve got to eradicate that,” said Saunders.

Saunders blames an injury to one of his centre halves as being a major loss to his team.

“If Alex Finney, arguably our best centre half, or one of our best centre halves,  we lost him to a broken jaw at that point.  Alex Finney and Alex Wynter had six or seven clean sheets together. Since he’s been injured we haven’t kept a clean sheet!

“We lost Joe Pigott our top goalscorer to AFC Wimbledon and Zavon Hines, our second top goalscorer to Chesterfield. 

“We’ve had injuries everywhere, I’m not pleading, we’ve had one of those seasons. Any team would be affected by that and we’re no different.

“The new signings will improve us. We’re still looking for one or two and if we can get everyone fit – Finney starts training on Wednesday so hopefully he comes back into contention and all off a sudden things start looking a little more positive again.”

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