The chairman's told me I've got the job next season, reveals treble-chasing Chatham Town boss James Collins
CHATHAM TOWN manager James Collins says he has been told by his chairman Kevin Hake that he will be in charge of the club next season.
Chatham Town booked their place in the Kent Senior Trophy Final after beating local rivals Hollands & Blair 2-0 at Maidstone Road yesterday, courtesy of goals from strikers Byron Walker and a Paul Vines penalty inside the final 23 minutes.
Collins takes his side to Salters Lane in Faversham on Wednesday night to play Canterbury City in the Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Quarter-Finals before returning to league action with a home game against Punjab United next Saturday.
Fisher manager Dean Harrison has kept his club at the summit of the Premier Division and they beat Punjab United 4-1 at St Paul’s yesterday to ensure they are serious title contenders with a team that has team spirit in abundance.
Corinthian are in second-place, level on 59 points but they do have a game in hand on Harrison’s surprise package.
Then come the big hitters with big budgets, looking to knock Fisher and Corinthian off their perch in the most exciting title race in years.
Cray Valley are in third-place in the table with 52 points from 24 games, followed by Beckenham Town, whom have 50 points from 25 games, followed by Chatham Town in fifth-place with 49 points but they now have four games in hand on the leaders.
Sixth-placed Sheppey United pulled out of the title race after losing 2-0 at AFC Croydon Athletic yesterday and they are now 15 points adrift of Fisher.
“Nothing runs perfectly during the course of the season and that’s why it’s hard to win things because you don’t get a clean run of fixtures and you don’t play every week and things don’t go your way and it’s tough,” said Collins, who extended his side's winning run to nine games.
“Whoever wins this league would have done incredibly well, I would imagine.
“The chairman has told me I’ve got the job next season. There’s pressure because there’s pressure on myself and I want to do well and we think we’ve got a good chance of doing it (winning the league) this year.
“That was the plan, to win it. He’s told me I’ve got the job next season but that doesn’t take any pressure off the fact that we all want to win it.
“If you’re asking me if I’m going to get sacked if we don’t win it? I don’t think I will but that’s what I’m saying how much he’s backed me and always supported me and that’s nice to know.
“I don’t want another year of it (Southern Counties East Football League football). I want to do it this year, the club want to do it this year and the players want to do it this year.
“But Cray Valley want to do it this year, Corinthian want to do it this year, Fisher want to do it this year and Beckenham want to do it this year.
“It’s weird. People are saying is the league stronger? I don’t know. There’s never usually a top five like this. It’s all been in reverse. Usually at the beginning of the season teams go on a run and teams start choking. It’s gone the other way.
“Everyone was choking at the beginning and everyone’s gone on a run. Who knows how it’s going to pan out?
“It’s exciting, it’s enjoyable and I’m just pleased that we’re in a cup final now and sitting in a good position in the league but there’s so much football to be played. You’ve got to take each week as it comes. It’s such a cliché.
“You literally have to break it down and take it one game at a time, otherwise you get carried away and look too far ahead and drive yourself crazy!”
But as things stand, Chatham Town are treble chasing – and have 16 league games left to play and up to four cup games left to cram in to the remaining 11 weeks of the season.
“I’ve always tried to be competitive and respect every competition and I don’t think winning a trophy is a bad thing,” said Collins, who has now reached his fifth cup final of his managerial career.
“If you do get promoted, the cup competitions become harder to win because you’re the lowest ranked. When you’re in them, try and give everything you can.
“We have to assess how we go with the games. I’ve got a very big squad and quality in all areas. It’s the sheer amount of games but we’re well prepared and that’s all you can do and give it your best shot.”
Visit Chatham Town’s website: www.chathamtownfc.com
Canterbury City v Chatham Town
Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Quarter-Final
Wednesday 13 February 2019
Kick Off 7:45pm
at Salters Lane, Faversham, Kent ME13 8ND