Five more victories will keep us in the division, says Sittingbourne joint-boss Matt Wyatt
Sunday 02nd February 2014SITTINGBOURNE joint-manager Matt Wyatt says a top half finish would be a great achievement by the club.
The Brickies have played only two games since the New Year, picking up four points and they lie in fifteenth-place in the Ryman League Division One South table with 31 points from 24 games, seven points clear of the relegation zone.
“To be honest, no, the weather hasn’t helped,” Wyatt told www.sittingbournefc.co.uk.
“We were on a good run and we just want to play games. Some fans have been telling us we’ve been playing some of the best football they’ve seen for ten years at the club.
“We felt we were in a really good position to push on with a full squad available.”
Wyatt and Nick Davis have a logistical nightmare of being the first Kent club to fly out to play Guernsey in a midweek fixture on Wednesday night.
The Green Lions are in third-place in their inaugural Ryman League campaign with 52 points from 29 games, 11 points adrift of leaders Peacehaven & Telscombe.
“We’ve got five first team players unavailable yet when we were going in December and only got as far as Gatwick we had a full squad,” said Wyatt.
“Mind you, you need a big squad with the amount of games we’re going to have to play to catch up and I think it may end up that the best teams aren’t in the play-offs and the worst ones getting relegated.
“It will depend on what teams they can field when the games come thick and fast.
“It’s also a problem financially. It’s hard for the club. There’s no money coming in and that has a knock-on effect on what we can do with the team.
“And it’s hard to keep picking the players up and get them going and then the match is off. It’s unbelievable but we haven’t played on a Saturday afternoon with a three o’clock kick-off since December 14th.”
Sittingbourne will be without Joe Taylor, 22, who is on trial in Sweden, with Second Division outfit Ostersunds, who signed midfielder Alex Dyer, 23, from Skrill Premier side Welling United earlier on in the season.
“Joe’s back on February 7, so he only misses one game,” said Wyatt.
“We have a good rapport with Joe and his dad and we can’t stand a young kid’s way of making progress. It’s pre-season there so if he joins their season doesn’t’ start until mid-April and he’ll be with us until the end of our season.
“Joe’s under contract so the club would want some sort of fee. He’s a lovely lad, a really nice guy and we want to make sure we do the best for Joe and the football club.
“If by the time their season starts and they want him, if we’re mathematically safe from relegation and mathematically unable to get in the play-offs and if it’s agreed about a fee, then he could go then.”
When asked whether Sittingbourne can grab a play-off place after the end of their gruelling 46-match league campaign, Wyatt replied: “Our first target is to get another five victories, as 45 or 48 points will keep us up in this division.
“To ensure our safety was the target when we took over and that’s still the case. Realistically we feel we have got to win 13 or 15 out of 22 games left to get near the play-offs. That’s a big ask but it’s not totally unreasonable.
“We’re on a good little run at the moment and if we can make at least the top 10 or 12 it would be a great achievement from where we were when we took over.
“I’d love to think we could make the play-offs but realistically top 10 or 12 is the aim. Then next year it would be top eight and the following season win promotion.”
Davis, who plays in the heart of Sittingbourne’s defence, and Wyatt were thrust into Ryman League management when the club sacked Jim and Danny Ward just minutes after their 3-0 win at Chatham Town in the Kent Senior Cup back on 3 September 2013.
Wyatt said: “I’ve managed before but not at this level. Some things have been easier than I expected, some have been harder.
“The wheeler dealing is hard but you get used to it and man management probably comes ok.
“The hardest thing to me is if we’ve lost. I take it personally. I feel I’ve let the supporters down and I feel sorry for people like (our Southend based fan).
“The fans have been there cheering the team on, spending their hard-earned cash and I take defeat as a reflection on me.
“I must try not to take it too personally and to switch off and relax. Not to beat myself up too much if we lose – and not to think you’re the next Mourinho if you win a game of football!
“I spend 45 hours a week on Sittingbourne, including travelling, meetings, training, watching games, speaking to people. But to me it’s a privilege to be involved with Sittingbourne as a manager.
“I’ve always been taught you only get out what you put in. If you work hard and do your best you have no regrets.
“We say to the players: No regrets, don’t come in after 90 minutes and say you could have done better. Give it your best shot and people can’t criticise you. We’ve got a good set of lads here and we’re all on this journey together.”
Visit Sittingbourne’s website: www.sittingbournefc.co.uk
Guernsey v Sittingbourne
Ryman League Division One South
Wednesday 5th February 2014
Kick Off 7:45pm
At Footes Lane Stadium, St Peter Port, Guernsey