Top two hopefuls must win next ten to repair damage
CHARD Town's torrid start to the season means they need to win their next ten games to resurrect their promotion bid, according to their assistant-manager.
The Robins may have shrugged off a dismal opening by winning their last three Toolstation Western League First Division encounters, but Adam Fricker believes they still have a long way to go to repair the damage.
Taoufik Ben Salem and Ed Butcher netted twice to sink Almondsbury UWE on Saturday as Chard showed signs of the form their management had earmarked for a top two assault at the start of the campaign.
However, Fricker said they would have to extend their winning run into double figures if they were to stand a chance of climbing to the top flight.
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"When you look at the league table and see that we've lost five games already it's frustrating because if we had turned one or two of those just into draws it would look better," he said.
"We have shot right up there and we still have four players to come back and add to the ones we had on Saturday. We have made it hard work for ourselves and we know that we can't lose many more, if any.
"We have to almost win the next ten to 11 games to get us right back in the mix and see where we go from there. We have given ourselves a lot to do but we believe in the players we have got.
"Sam Clark is out for another three weeks and that's a massive blow for us. Leigh Bailey will soon come back in, Jack Adams is a couple of weeks away and Oscar has finished work and is available every week for us.
"They are the sorts of players we need. Sam Spurway played on Saturday and was superb. It's looking good and we're starting to have problems picking the side, good problems where we have to think who we are going to use here and there when before the team was picking itself."
Fricker praised Chard's persistence against Almondsbury and said former Crewkerne Town man Butcher - in his first season in the Western League after plying his trade in the Perry Street and District League - "ran them ragged".
He said: "It was a case of sticking with it and grinding them down. They didn't create many chances and once we got our chance we had to put it away. We thoroughly deserved the three points and you can tell that the lads are quite confident after back-to-back wins.
"We brought on Ed for the last 20 minutes to get a goal and he ran them ragged.
"He had four or five opportunities and after Benjani (Ben Salem) had scored he went past three players and smashed it in the bottom corner to give the keeper no chance.
"At the moment I think Ed's going to be more of an impact player. He's come on once or twice and looked really lively and direct. Saturday was an ideal opportunity for him to come on against a tired defence and get at them.
"He's maybe not ready to step up and play 90 minutes but if he keeps performing that chance will come sooner rather than later."
Fricker added that his own side's testing start meant they would not be taking Portishead Town's win-less record for granted when they meet this weekend.
"It's one we expect to win but we don't know if they have been in the same situation as us," he said.
"People could have looked at us earlier in the season and thought they would expect to win when they came to Chard."