Walker: Town squad starting to gel

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Paul Davis and Steve Walker. Photo: Steve Wood

FOOTBALL

HEAD coach Steve Walker believes the Stratford Town squad is now gelling together following a month-long rebuild – but stressed the players must start cutting out the ‘basic errors’.

Walker and caretaker boss Paul Davis have had a busy period since the sacking of Tommy Wright back in October, with practically a whole new squad arriving at the Arden Garages Stadium in such a short space of time.

The Blues, who sit 17th in the Southern Premier Central table, have showed in recent games that they are heading in the right direction and that notion was backed up by the 4-1 victory over Hednesford Town on 19th November.

Despite losing 3-2 to Royston Town on Tuesday night, Town showed spirit to claw goals back at 2-0 and 3-1 down, and that’s something that has pleased Walker.

The head coach also pointed out the fact that having a regular squad to pick from over the last few games has enabled the players to gel better.

“People have to understand that we have put together a whole new squad over the last month and during that time we’ve come up against sides who are virtually in the top six,” he told the Herald.

“That’s the frustrating thing because we have not been playing teams that are in and around us. We played well with nine men against Tamworth and I think we deserved more from the game against Hednesford in the FA Trophy.

“We weren’t up to standard against Peterborough Sports and Coalville, and when we played Nuneaton, we should have been 2-0 up inside 15 minutes.

“However, we followed that up with a solid performance over Hednesford in the league and it was another solid performance from us on Tuesday at Royston.

“But it’s just the mistakes which are costing us at the moment. Whenever we make a mistake, it’s getting punished and that’s something we have to eradicate.

“The players don’t make those basic errors on purpose, but it’s something which is costing us a little at the moment.

“That said, we are starting to see some consistency with the performances because the players are starting to gel and hopefully over the next four or five games, with a few results behind us, it will give us a lot more confidence.

“We’re positive that this group of players can go on a winning run, as there is more than enough quality in the dressing room to get us away from danger.”

Up next for Town is a trip to 20th-placed St. Ives Town on Saturday (3pm kick-off) where they will be looking to register their first away win at the eighth attempt.

Despite carrying the worst away record in the league, having chalked up just a single point from their seven travels so far, Walker stressed the trip to struggling St. Ives isn’t a must-win.

“I don’t like labelling games as a must-win because we want to win every game,” said Walker.

“The St. Ives game is not a must-win, but it’s one we know we can go and win.

“I watched St. Ives on Saturday at Bromsgrove Sporting and they did not play badly and they’re not actually a bad side, although the table might suggest otherwise.

“They worked hard for each other, battled for each other and fought hard for each other.

“If we make less mistakes than they do on the day, then we have a great opportunity to win the match.”

Victory would also act as boost for Tuesday night’s home game against Barwell (7.45pm kick-off).

With Town ten points off the play-off places, when asked what is achievable this season, Walker said: “First and foremost we need to start getting wins on the board.

“The more of those we get, the higher up the table we will finish.

“It’s easy to say you want to finish in the top six, but we need to win games first and move ourselves away from the bottom end of the table.

“Once we start doing that, only then can we start to concentrate on where we think we can finish this season.

“Right now, we just need to focus on getting the full six points from our next two games.”