BRENDAN Kelly has targetted 12 wins from Bromsgrove Sporting’s remaining games in a race to the finish line with their promotion rivals.
The Rouslers remain second despite Saturday’s 6-0 demolition of Lowestoft Town at the Victoria Ground, where Shaquille McDonald and captain Richard Gregory – making his 100th appearance for the club – finished the game with a hat-trick each.
Leaders Tamworth remain in pole position in the Southern League Premier Central as a result of a straightforward 2-0 win at Redditch United.
With two games in hand and a two-point lead over Bromsgrove, the Lambs will remain strong title favourites until their next slip-up.
It’s a situation that Kelly is keen to influence by putting pressure on their closest rivals – starting with Saturday’s trip to Hednesford Town (3pm).
“Their confidence is probably low on the kind of run that they’ve been on,” said Sporting’s manager on Hednesford’s five-game winless streak.
“But you only have to look at Tuesday night’s game with Needham Market. Coalville would have been expected to have won that at home but Needham turned them over – so anything can happen in this league.
“If your mentality and concentration levels aren’t right, then you can lose to anyone. The thing for us is never to concentrate on the opposition, we always look to concentrate on ourselves.
“There are 12 games left, and we’re targetting wins in all of them, so whoever gets nearest to 93 points will be deserving winners.”
Repeat displays from the forward pairing of Gregory and McDonald would no doubt leave Rouslers fans confident of seeing through Kelly’s ambitious statement, as Sporting embark on another promotion charge not too dissimilar to last season.
Then, Bromsgrove went toe-to-toe with Peterborough Sports – who are incidentally the next closest side in the title race in third – for the entirety of the campaign.
While Sporting pulled the short straw of having to take the play-off route after missing out on the sole automatic promotion spot, their experience of having been in this position before will no doubt prove useful to Kelly’s current crop.
And with three strikers in Gregory, McDonald and Mikey Taylor contributing consistently to the goalscoring cause, the Irishman has talked up the importance of the trio in deciding their destiny.
“There is an element of competition between the three,” Kelly said.
“But all of them are more focused on the team and chipping in to the overall goal tally.
“At the same time, it’s brilliant to have three lads all going for the golden boot in the same season.”
Currently, Taylor is clearly leading the way at the top of the charts on 24 goals, with Gregory and Peterborough’s Dion Sembie-Ferris keeping in touch with 16 goals each.
While the league’s top scorer is an injury doubt having left the pitch early in the Lowestoft win, Gregory has been the subject of particular praise after making his landmark appearance.
“If you look back at the goalscorers that this club has had, he’ll go down as one of the best goalscorers in Bromsgrove’s history.
“Chris Conway was well out on his own for a while before Jason Cowley came along. Rich is now chasing Jason down with 81 goals in his 100 appearances so far.
“A lot of people had question marks over Rich before this season about whether he could make the step-up, but I’ve seen a different side to him, especially since he’s taken on the responsibility of the captaincy.
“He’s become stronger as captain, he’s a better and fitter player and has so far stood up to the test. At this stage you have to say that he is a club legend.
“You look at his goal ratio, he’s central to our plans and he’s hungry for more – he loves the club.”
With loanee Jak Hickman the only other injury doubt for Bromsgrove, Kelly remains coy on turning to the transfer market for cover at this moment in time.
“We want to make sure that we strengthen the squad but don’t want to upset the balance,” he said.
“It’s something that we might look into but they’ve got to be players that fit into what the club is about.”