Ward: Ryman Premier League football doesn't frighten me (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW)
Ramsgate manager Jim Ward is sweating over the fitness of influential central defender Ollie Schulz for their top-of-the-table clash at Horsham tomorrow, writes Stephen McCartney.
The big central defender has missed the last three games with ankle ligament damage but the Scot is going to make a late decision to see if the seven-goal defender will return.
“It’s a huge game to deciding the title,” said Ward. “From our point of view it makes life difficult for Horsham if we win.”
Ramsgate, who have lost only four league games from their 38 league outings this term, lead the Hornets by five points, but the Sussex side have a game in hand.But the Thanet club will have one foot inside the Ryman Premier League - at the first time of asking - if they win tomorrow.
“We’re in touching distance but we haven’t got hold of it yet,” added Ward. “We haven’t got a grasp for promotion so as soon as that comes along the better.”
Ward isn’t used to losing either. On their way to winning the Kent League title last season Ramsgate lost only four league games from their 30 league fixtures, and the season before that, his charges lost once in 12 matches.
And when Ward managed Maidstone United his side lost only five times in two and a half years in league action.
But Ward admitted he is “forever thinking about next season,” as the Southwood Stadium club plan ahead to playing Ryman Premier League football.
“I’m forever thinking about next season, looking at under 18 games, any game of football to find any lad that’s got potential from the players I’ve got at Ramsgate,” he said.
“From my point of view it doesn’t stop. The division above doesn’t frighten me at all because at the end of the day we just have to surround ourselves with as many good players as we can.
“A lot of people say to me if we do get promoted we have to get more experience in our side.
“I agree with that statement but the lads I’ve got now, they’re all under 23 (apart from Mark Munday), they’ve all got so much experience under their belts.
“As far as I’m concerned I’ve already got seven or eight players here when the skies the limit.
Ward feels Horsham aren’t the side to be aware of but third placed side Metropolitan Police.
The Police are just two points behind the Hornets and will be looking to collect maximum points from Lymington & New Milton at Imber Court tomorrow.
“Horsham are not our problem it’s the team that’s in third place at the time,” said Ward.
“At the moment it’s Metropolitan Police, we’ve got a game in hand, but if we win our game in hand we’ll be clear of the pack – that’s really what’s more important than anything else.”
Ward has no suspensions but the Vahid brothers Edd and Stuart have both got ankle problems and Ward has “got a big decision to make about Ollie Schulz”.
“He tells me he’s ready to play but it might be too soon,” he added.
Speaking about Ramsgate’s chairman, Richard Lawson, Ward said: “He’s a bag of nails. He cannot believe how far forward we’ve come. The club’s come on so quick.
”The club is certainly being seen by other people in football in a different light.”
* Horsham are expecting a big crowd for the match and parking at the ground will be a problem.
No cars will be allowed into the ground after 2:15pm and it is possible the car park will be full before then.
Saturday 1 April: a Horsham
Saturday 8 April: H Newport IOW
Saturday 15 April: a Leatherhead
Monday 17 April: H Dover Athletic
Saturday 22 April: H Ashford Town
Saturday 29 April: a Metropolitan Police
8 S. Vahid
7 O. Schulz
7 W. Schulz
3 Own Goals
Horsham v Ramsgate
Ryman League Division One
Saturday 1st April 2006
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Queen Street, Horsham, West Sussex