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20th Jan, 2022

"It will go down to the final day" - Kelly talks play-off push, Barwell, home form and under-18s success

Ben Tyler 5th Mar, 2020 Updated: 5th Mar, 2020

BRENDAN Kelly believes the Southern League Premier Central play-off race will go right to the wire after recent developments in the top-half of the table.

Bromsgrove Sporting currently occupy fourth place in the table but have been out of action since the 2-1 home reverse to Hitchin Town on February 22 in a month significantly affected by a string of postponements.

With other sides around them – namely fifth-placed Stourbridge, who enjoyed a successful start to the Mark Yates era with a 2-0 victory over Lowestoft Town last weekend – applying the pressure, Kelly says the situation near the top of the league is far from settled.

“Every game is a must-win from now on,” said Sporting’s manager.

“There are quite a few teams in the hunt for the play-off places. The league title is beyond us but as far as the play-offs are concerned, it will go down to the last day.

“There are a lot of teams involved, including us, who still have to play each other.

“Even lower down in the table, the likes of Alvechurch will have their say on things with the new set-up there, Leiston are fighting for their lives and are picking up results.

“You get the unexpected results, you look at Needham Market turning over Coalville Town the other week, there will be lots of twists and turns still to come.”

Saturday’s home game against Barwell, who are stationed in 13th place, now presents the Rouslers with another chance to address their indifferent home form which has hampered their season so far (3pm).

That challenge will be easier said than done however, considering the five-game unbeaten run that Guy Hadland’s Canaries enjoyed throughout the month of February.

“We’re expecting to put right our home form this weekend,” said Kelly. “We’ve had opportunities to capitalise on results of the sides around us but haven’t taken them.

“I do wonder about our mentality approaching the business end of the season, we need to take more of the openings that come our way and rectify our home form.

“It’s still something that I can’t figure out. We had the two-year unbeaten run at home before this season but this time around we’ve only won around 40 percent of our games at the Victoria Ground, compared to over 60 percent of our away games.”

Kelly says he is targetting two new signings, with an eagerness to bring in another winger and defender at present.

He explained: “We’ve brought in Correy Davidson on loan from Kidderminster in the past week, who will add to our creative play in midfield.

“We’re trying to work on something for another winger and a defender who we’re still looking at.

“We’ve been helped by the return of Lewis Chester, who is back and has trained really well having been unavailable with personal commitments.”

Aside from the first team, Sporting’s under-18s reached the semi-finals of the Worcestershire FA Midweek Cup last week after seeing off Kidderminster Harriers in a 5-3 victory at the Victoria Ground, one which Kelly was pleased to take in.

“It was a great result for the lads after an end-to-end game,” he said.

“Some of the lads who are taking part in the games, the likes of Owen Taylor and Sam Collins, have trained with us for a number of weeks.

“Hopefully they can kick on to the final, it’s something that I like to keep an eye on as we definitely have some good players coming through the system.”

Possibly the only positive outcome from Bromsgrove’s disrupted run of fixtures has been the absence of Mike Taylor – currently out with a knee injury – who Kelly says Sporting haven’t had chance to miss, adding: “It’s the only good thing to come from the games that have been called off.”

The league’s top scorer of 24 goals is one of two absentees for the weekend, with on-loan defender Jak Hickman still out with a quad injury.

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