Chard Town manager calls on 'big characters' to boost climb
CHARD Town manager Nik Flory has called on his team's biggest characters to come to the fore to ensure their promotion push stays on track.
The Robins have enjoyed a flying start to the season, weathering Flory's absence from the dugout on family leave to even top Toolstation Western League Division One at one point.
They entered the New Year second in the table with their boss confident of maintaining their form in the first four months of 2013. However, he said it was up to his side's young stars to maintain standards even if climbing the leagues meant changing mentalities at the club.
"Like all managers I am looking around to see where and when I can strengthen the squad but there is no urgency as I know we are not a million miles away," said Flory, whose son Isaac was diagnosed with leukaemia in the summer. "We have got some squad players and there are some in the reserves that are knocking on the door.
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"Going into the end of the season when hopefully we are in contention for promotion those lads need to realise that they are there to help the cause and be even more professional than they already are. None of those lads have probably played in a promotion race, it's not a relegation battle and it's a different mentality.
"I am looking for some big characters. It won't be easy - no game is - but if we do want to progress we have got to win away at places where we would have normally thought a draw would have been okay, taking three points with 20 minutes to spare. Everyone across the board needs that mentality, even our youngsters.
"You forget how young our squad is but there is experience there. Having already had a year under Adam Fricker and I they are showing that they learning. There are big characters that are learning, but you have people like Sam Spurway who is only mid-20s and even shows his professionalism in training. Nathan Warren is only 18 but he has played around 60 first team games. Nothing seems to phase this team and they need to keep going like that."
A waterlogged pitch meant Chard missed the opportunity to get one over top spot rivals Corsham Town last Saturday, whilst Flory hopes a free Saturday will revitalise his squad ahead of one of the club's most important second halves of a season in recent years.
He said: "We will make the most of it and with the lack of games of late we will do something with the lads. Some may get a game with the reserves or we will train. It has been a hard start to the season and hopefully the rest will do us well.
"The guys haven't been able to get on the pitch either since Boxing Day against Sherborne Town, having done a brilliant job leading up to it. It's too wet to get on there so hopefully we can get a dry spell. There's still plenty of grass there. We are desperate to play on there because we know how to play the slope and teams don't really want to come here."
Mark Scott and Sam Clark's penalty earned a point against Sherborne, with Flory happy to take the draw on a surface that suited neither team.
"It was one of those typical derby Boxing Day games," he said. "Both sides had chances to win it so on reflection a point was a fair result. We did create enough to win it so we were disappointed not to take all three points but it doesn't hurt us so much picking up a point against them. They are a good side and they could've done without a draw so that for them might have been points dropped.
"Games like that need to be on for a club like ours because there was a good crowd. The pitch was a leveller, nobody could really play football on it. Both sides had to adapt to it and did well when it looked like a slip or a mistake in the mud would win it, rather than a good goal. It could have been a cricket score if conditions got any worse."