BROMSGROVE SPORTING shot-stopper Chris Jay believes the current Rouslers squad has what it takes to make the step up to the Midland League Premier Division, writes Liam Hunt.
Sporting ended a tough run of four away games over the Easter period with a vital 3-1 win over Hinckley on Tuesday night to maintain their position at the summit of the Division One table.
With the Rouslers closely followed by the chasing pack of Nuneaton Griff and Coventry United for the title, 28-year-old keeper Jay is confident the current Sporting squad are ready for promotion.
“I’m one hundred per cent sure this squad has what it takes to play in the league above, every single one of them can make the step up,” he said.
“We already have a number of players who have played at that level but keeping the squad together over the summer is crucial.
“We have a really strong relationship as a team.”
Jay joined Sporting in late September last year and after a short injury setback, he helped the Rouslers secure a run of seven consecutive league victories throughout December and January.
He said: “It was an easy decision to join Sporting, I spoke to Simon Fitter and Sean Brain before joining and they couldn’t speak highly enough of the club.
“I wish I had started the season at Sporting.”
Jay and the rest of his team-mates make a return to the Victoria Ground tomorrow (Saturday) as they welcome mid-table Coventry Copsewood.
Since the 3-0 victory over Stafford Town last month, Sporting faced a difficult spell away from home but despite the 4-0 defeat to title rivals Nuneaton Griff, Paul Smith’s side claimed important victories over Pershore and Hinckley along with a draw at Studley.
And for Jay, stepping foot on the pitch at the Victoria Ground this weekend is something he’s looking really forward to.
“It will be nice to get back to the Victoria Ground after so many away games,” Jay said.
“We have to take every game one at a time now because we have six cup finals to play so we can’t start looking too far ahead.”
With clean sheets coming in almost half of his league appearances, Jay insisted Sporting’s ability to defend from the front is the secret behind their position in the league.
“As a team we defend really well, some of the clean sheets this season have been huge,” he said.
“We defend from the front as a unit and we aren’t shy of scoring goals so keeping clean sheets is crucial. Clean sheets win leagues.
“Last week at Pershore they threw everything at us in the last ten minutes and we managed to keep them out.
“We might look back and say we won the league at Pershore.”
Bromsgrove’s number one was also keen to praise the loyal support of the ‘Shedenders’ with the Victoria Ground’s record attendance broken twice this season with a whopping crowd of 924 turning out to see the Rouslers thrash Coventry United 4-2, this coming after the 674 against Pilkington XXX on New Years Day.
“The fans are unbelievable, they come in their numbers home and away, and it really does lift you as a player,” Jay added.
“They’re second to none at this level and they’ve always stood by us, they are the 12th man.”
“It’s been a good season and I hope we can win the league for the fans.”