Lewes FC assistant manager Joe Vines says the players will “leave it all out there on the pitch” over the final eight games of the Isthmian Premier League season, as the team chases a playoff spot.
The Rooks sit sixth in the table – a point off fifth-place Hornchurch in the final playoff place – and have an eight-point advantage over seventh-place Cheshunt.
Just one defeat in the last six has kept Lewes in the race but the 2-2 draw at Haringey last weekend means this Saturday’s home encounter against Bishop’s Stortford takes on even more significance.
Boss Tony Russell has previously stressed that the goal was to be competing for a top-five finish come the end of the season. And Vines has assured our incredible fans that the team is working hard to deliver on that promise.
“We are unwavering in our style. A Tony Russell team is a possession-based team, a passing team. Always has been, always will be. I understand some of the frustration at times about why we pass it across the back, or why does the ball go backwards… well that’s how we play!” says Vines.
“That style of ‘crash it and get around it’ isn’t for us. That’s not going to change.
“What we will do and what we commit to is fighting for every point between now and the end of the season. We’re going to leave it all out there on the pitch and if it’s good enough then brilliant. If it isn’t then we’ll go again.
“That’s the promise we make to the fans. And for those that turn up in their droves, we really appreciate the support. It’s been huge, particularly for us coming into a new club and not being used to having the level of support Lewes fans have given us. It’s made a huge difference and long may that continue.”
Saturday a testing encounter
Lewes drew 1-1 at Bishop’s Stortford back in November when Iffy Allen grabbed a late equaliser to earn a hard-earned point at the ProKit UK Stadium.
Their boss Steve Smith has guided the team to second on the table, and last weekend they beat league leaders Worthing 3-0.
And Vines is well aware that Saturday’s encounter at the Dripping Pan will be a feisty one.
“Bishop’s Stortford are a very good side and they’re in great form,” he says. “I watched them against Worthing and they compete for every single ball – whether that’s in the air or every ball that drops… there’s someone there.
“They operate a very tight formation so they can get to the ball quickly. It will be a tough game for us.
“For us to win it we’re going to need to be at our absolute best, and to then really push for play-off spot with some momentum. We have to keep fighting for every potential point that we can pick up along the way.”
Victory could see the Rooks leapfrog Hornchurch into sixth and come within a win over overtaking Enfield Town – depending on other results.
And with just a handful of games remaining, Vines says the team is well aware of the importance of securing results.
“We’ve got eight games to go. The playoff spot was the aim at the beginning of the season that that still remains the same,” he said.
“Ultimately with eight games to go in the season you want to be fighting for something – and we’re still in that position. We need the same level of application and attitude that we’re seeing in training, we need to get that into our match-day performances as well because at the minute we can’t seem to quite get that right.”
Lewes FC vs Bishop’s Stortford tickets
Lewes FC tickets for the game, which kicks off at 3pm on Saturday, are available to buy now online (at a discount).
Ticket prices online are as follows:
Adults – £11 general admittance online (£12 on the gate)
Concessions – £7 general admittance online (£8 on the gate)
Kids (under 16) – free!
Beach hut for six people – £99