They don’t want to come here because they’ll know we’ll be hurting, says Tonbridge Angels coach Justin Luchford

Friday 26th February 2016

TONBRIDGE ANGELS coach Justin Luchford says his side will be like a wounded animal when they face league leaders Hampton & Richmond Borough tomorrow.

The Angels suffered their sixth league defeat of the season when an impressive Bognor Regis Town came away from Longmead Stadium with a 3-1 win on Tuesday night.

The Rocks were deservedly 3-0 up, courtesy of two Jason Prior headers and Alfie Rutherford’s solo run, before half-time substitute Luke Blewden swept home his 18th goal of the season for a consolation for out-played Tonbridge.

Hampton & Richmond Borough claimed top spot with a 4-0 home win over fourth-from-bottom Kent side VCD Athletic, who remain six points adrift of safety with 10 games remaining.

Steve McKimm’s Angels are now eight points adrift of the leaders going into tomorrow’s must-win game, which is followed by a trip to second-placed East Thurrock United seven days later.

“They don’t want to come here because they’ll know we’ll be hurting and we will be hurting and we’ve hurt all week,” said Luchford.

“We’ll watch the video and the gaffer will watch the video and he’ll dissect what went wrong on Tuesday night and we’ll be flying come Saturday.

“They may be flying at the moment, they’re playing well. They’re in good form, they’re top of the league but they won’t want to come here! We’ll be like a wounded animal Saturday and we’ll come out fighting.

“I know our players and the gaffer will make sure the players are right and raring to go on Saturday.”

Defeat to Alan Dowson’s side will make winning the Ryman Premier League title in April a tough ask but Luchford says there’s many club’s battling it out for promotion.

“I said on Saturday the next 14-16 days will decide who’s going to be in and around it and I firmly believe it’s five from seven unless someone eighth or ninth goes on a particular run,” said Luchford.

“Baring in mind where we were last year if we make the play-offs it’s one hell of an achievement, people have got to remember that.  Of course we’ll be disappointed if we don’t do it now because we’re so close.

“Let’s not forget where we were last year, fifth-from-bottom, so we were one place off going down and now we’re third in the table with 12 games to go.”

When asked how McKimm has turned things around, Luchford said: “Belief from the gaffer; organisation from the gaffer; bringing the right players in; getting the dressing room right; keeping some stability; some consistency with some of the players who were here last year, not changing what we believe in. 

“He’s not changing anything we’ve did last year. He's done exactly the same. 

“He’s been able to bring in a few better players down the spine. There’s a belief in the dressing room, the dressing room is a great place to be. 

“You’ve got to give him credit and Barry (Moore, assistant manager) and the way the lads have worked all season.”

Visit Tonbridge Angels’ website:

Tonbridge Angels  v  Hampton & Richmond Borough
Ryman Premier League
Saturday 27th February 2016
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Longmead Stadium, Darenth Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN10 3JF

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