We are now well into the final stages of the season and things are looking grim at the top of Hoo Road. Five games without a win and Stuart Watkiss has been in the press saying that we need to win at least seven games out of the remaining eleven.
A tall order? A very tall order.
Is it something that we can acheive? To be honest, no. Four wins I reckon, this week against Cheltenham then Rushden, Bury and Grimsby. Draws against Notts County and Mansfield will give us a total of fourteen points but I can't see us getting anything off Darlo, Wycombe, Boston, Yeovil and Northampton.
So will fourteen points be enough? We need eight to overtake Rushden so that leaves us with a leeway of six points. Yeh, we can do that!
With our recent results following the disaster at Shrewsbury we have shown a much better attitude and could easily have won the drawn games against Rovers and Rochdale with a bit more effort. The defence seem to have tightened up but are still prone to schoolboy errors when the concentration drifts and the front line have got sharper but lack just a touch of ruthlessness when it matters.
This Saturday is when it all gels and we turn in one of the shocks of the season. We bang in three goals and give away none.
We should be at full strength for the visit of Cheltenham and the injuries to Johnny Mullins (hamstring), Tom Bennett (groin), Lee Jenkins (knee) and Blair Sturrock (virus) have now cleared up. Mark Rawle will be in contention for a starting spot and even Christie and Hazell are approaching fitness at last.
Gary Birch had his operation on his knee last Wednesday and it appears to have gone better than expected because all he needed was a cartilage trim and he should now be available again for the last few games of the season.
We have just the one ex Cheltenham player at the Harriers. Bertrand Cozic joined them from Team Bath but when John Ward came in as manager he found himself out of favour and moved on to Hereford and then Northampton.
In the short while here he's impressed with his attitude to our predicament and given his all in the five games he's played so far. I'd go as far to say that our improvement could be partly down to him.
The two ex Harriers at Waddle Road won't be appearing at Aggborough this time. The 'unloved at 'Nam' JJ Melligan is out for a couple more weeks after missing the last five with a hamstring injury and now he's got a leg injury following a mid week reserve game. Graham Ward hasn't really figured in their plans all season, much the same as he was here.
Also out for them will be Graham Fyfe, John Brough, Shane Duff and Martin Devaney. Brough has been out long term following an ankle op and Fyfe has a broken arm. Duff and Devaney have both collected five yellow cards and will miss this game.
It's a shame Devaney's going to miss out on a friendly welcome from Wayne Hatswell and the fans following his bit of cheating in the game down there when he got Wayne sent off.
One thing that Cheltenham have done right in recent weeks is to bring in the highly rated Steven Gillespie on a remainder of the season loan deal from Bristol City. This lad has knocked in four goals in six games and will need to be watched closely by our lot to stop him adding to his tally.
We're going to win this one. Don't ask me why I think that, I just do ok!
Danby, Lewis, Burton, Mullins, Jones, Sall, Weaver, Jackson, Bennett, Hatswell, Beardsley, McGrath, Jenkins, Keates, Cozic, Gleeson, Sturrock, Rawle, Foster, Russell.
Higgs, Brown, Puddy, Wilson, Victory, Taylor, Finnigan, Guinan, Spencer, McCann, Bird, Gill, Odejayi, Vincent, Gallinagh, Murphy, Caines, Ward, Townsend, Gillespie, Connolly.