We've worked hard over the last 18 months to get our ground up to scratch, says Paul Piggott

Wednesday 05th March 2014
HOLLANDS & BLAIR manager Paul Piggott says plans are in place for the club to seal promotion to the Southern Counties East Football League at the end of the season.

The Gillingham based club are a point clear of Lydd Town at the top of the Kent Invicta League with fifteen wins and two defeats from their seventeen league games.

Blair were knocked out of the Kent Senior Trophy Sponsored by Spire Alexandra Hospital by Ashford United last weekend.

Paul Chambers’ side booked their place in the final when Gary Clarke’s close range finish sent the Southern Counties East Football League side through to the final.

Ashford United will face the winner of Fleet Leisure or Beckenham Town, who will try again at Rede Court Road on Saturday, 15 March after the original game was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch last weekend.

Hollands & Blair welcome third-placed Sutton Athletic to Star Meadow on Saturday in the Pain & Glory Kent Invicta Challenge Trophy Quarter-Final Second Leg.

Stuart West scored the only goal of the game at Lower Road on 11 January to give Blair the advantage going into Saturday’s decider.

“When we played them at their place they were a good side, another good side, a good footballing side and I felt we done well to come away with a 1-0 win there,” said Piggott.

“They got us in the second half and we had to defend for our lives a bit.

“At 1-0 it’s game on. We’re looking forward to it. We’re going to take the disappointment of Ashford into next week and we can’t wait for our next game.”

Lydd Town can leapfrog over Hollands & Blair to the summit if they win at fourth-placed Orpington on Saturday.

Piggott takes his side down to Lydd Town on 15 March in a vital match for both clubs.

 “Another big game. If we want to win things, which we set our stall out early to do, they’re the sides that we have to beat.

“I’m sure they won’t be giving up, whatever the result, they won’t give in.

“We’ve still got a lot of games to play in a short space of time.  Listen, we will keep going. If we keep putting in the effort like we did against Ashford then we’ll give everyone a run for their money.”

Blair have eleven league games of their season to play and Piggott is warming up to the fact of playing a number of midweek games when the clocks go forward.

“I think the league’s going to be extended until the Bank Holiday, Monday 5th May, so it will go into May,” revealed Piggott.

“It will be a long season and that’s why I will need my squad because we’re going to have a lot of midweek games which these boys are not used to really.  A lot of boys will have to get away from work and you’re rushing around and your preparing is not as good but that’s the same for everyone so we just have to deal with it and get on with it.

“If we want to do the things we want to do that’s the things we’ve got to do and we’ve got to do them well.”

When asked whether the club will be allowed in the Southern Counties East Football League next season should they go on to win the Kent Invicta League, Piggott replied: “As you can see the changing rooms have been done now. The dug-outs have been done, the (100 seat uncovered) stand has been done.

“We’re waiting for the decision for the planning permission for floodlights, which we will find out in the next week or so, but it’s looking positive.

“We’ve still got a fair amount of money to raise. It’s looking positive so we’re hoping we’ll be alright.

“I don’t want to count my chickens too early, but it’s looking good at the moment but we’re in the hands of the gods at the moment with the planning permission.”

Piggott added: “It’s been disappointing for us over the last four or five years. We’ve watched clubs finish below us and they’ve gone up. That’s not their fault, that’s our fault.

“This club’s worked hard over the last eighteen months to get this ground up to scratch and they’ve spent a lot of money and we just need that little last push to get us over the line and get the lights here and hopefully we’ll be playing in a league where I feel our players should be playing.”

Visit Hollands & Blair’s website: www.hollandsandblair.co.uk

Hollands & Blair  v  Sutton Athletic
Pain & Glory Sports Kent Invicta League Challenge Trophy Quarter-Final Second Leg
Saturday 8th March 2014
Kick Off 3:00pm
At Star Meadow Sports Ground, Darland Avenue, Gillingham, Kent ME7 3AN

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