September 27th, 2016

Sporting can win title says boss

Updated: 4:22 pm, Dec 22, 2015

PAUL SMITH insists the past month has proved Bromsgrove Sporting have got what it takes to be title contenders.

Saturday’s 4-1 win at Coventry Copsewood made it six victories in a row for the Rouslers, who have climbed to second place in Midland League Division One.

Table-toppers Coventry United, with 16 wins from 17 matches, are the team to catch, but manager Smith says Sporting fear nobody in their pursuit of the championship.

He praised Saturday’s victory at Copsewood as “top drawer” but stressed they need to keep pushing to intensify the pressure on Coventry United when they face Studley on Boxing Day (11.30am) at the Victoria Ground.

“You always want to be in top spot but I’m quite satisfied to go into Christmas sitting in second place, with games in hand on the pack of teams below us and with Coventry United in our sights,” said Smith.

“Seven points is a big lead but it’s not uncatchable. There’s more than half a season to go and we’ve still got to play them at our place.

“We’ve hit some form at the right time. We’ve come through some difficult games and there’s a real togetherness in the group.

“We’re playing well, scoring goals and defending well.”

In demanding conditions at Allard Way on Saturday, Sporting showed plenty of grit in the first half, with keeper Chris Jay making some valuable interventions before Nathan Walker’s deflected free-kick put them in front.

Another Walker free kick doubled the lead in the 75th minute and Liam Spink (85 minutes) and Connor Collins (87) wrapped up the points before Martin Gormley replied in stoppage time.

Strength in depth

Smith admits it has taken time for the Rouslers to gel but now he feels they can compete with anybody and they have the strength in depth. That point was emphasised on Saturday with Sean Brain, Luke Dugmore and Reece Hewitt all on the substitutes bench.

“I said at the start of the season that I had put together the best squad I’ve had,” said Smith.

“The problem early on was that we had the individuals but not the team. In the last six games, everything has clicked.

“We’ve been frightening at times. We don’t fear anybody. There will be plenty more challenges ahead but we are full of confidence.

“The danger is becoming complacent. Football has a habit of kicking you down when you think it’s easy. We’ve got to keep working, keep believing and keep improving.

“I look at the squad, our recent performances, and we’re ready to challenge for the title.”

Smith will have a near full-strength squad to face his former club Studley on Boxing Day as only defender Brendan Kelly, who is away with family in Ireland, is absent.

“It’s another big game, a local derby, against a club I was with and have a lot of time for,” said Smith.

“It will be nice to see some old faces from Studley but it’s all about getting the three points.”