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Shipston need to keep believing in surprise promotion push

Shipston Excelsior boss Steve Hedderman. Photo: Mark Williamson
Shipston Excelsior boss Steve Hedderman. Photo: Mark Williamson

SHIPSTON Excelsior have been challenged to ‘keep believing’ as they look to continue an unexpected promotion challenge.

Shipston go into Christmas in their highest ever league position, lying second in the Midland League Division Three.

It’s only their second season in Midland League football, having switched from the Stratford Alliance in the summer of 2015.

NKF Burbage are leading the table, ten points clear of Shipston while the pack of clubs behind the Warwickshire side – Montpellier, Northfield Town and Moors Academy – all have games in hand.

But manager Steve Hedderman says the team spirit and togetherness at London Road will be vital in sustaining their form into 2017.

“We are the smallest club in the division so it’s probably a surprise to everyone to see us second in the table,” said Hedderman.

“We don’t pay our players at all, they are all local lads, plus a couple of fresh faces this season, but we’ve got a belief that we can compete with the big boys.

“This is the highest position the club has ever been in and the question is ‘can we keep it going?’

“It’s a matter of belief. We’ve got to believe. The players all socialise together, they are a band of brothers and they’ll fight for each other.

“Last season we finished sixth so anything above that will be an improvement. That’s the only target. All the teams behind us have games in hand so I’m realistic. But I’m also optimistic and all we can is to keep winning and see where that takes us.”

Shipston face home and away fixtures with third-from-bottom Coventrians over the festive period. Coventrians come to London Road on Boxing Day (2pm kick-off) and then host Shipston on 2 January.

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