Chelmsford City manager Rod Stringer was under no illusions as to the size of the task facing his side when title contenders, Maidenhead United, visit the Melbourne Stadium on Monday evening.
Speaking ahead of what is a massive match for both teams, Stringer said: “To me, it’s a game that we shouldn’t fear. We respect Maidenhead, after all, you don’t spend as much time at the top of the table as they have if you haven’t got something about you. But we know that on our day we are a match for anyone, as we have already proved.
“We need to be aware of the threat they possess in attack, get amongst their midfield. We need to do what we’ve done at home all season. We haven’t lost a league match at the Melbourne Stadium this season. We have to use whatever we can to gain an advantage. That means we need the crowd to turn up in force and get behind us. We need to play well on the night and get the rub of the green with the decisions. If we do all that, maybe we can cause what many people will see as a bit of an upset.”
The Clarets boss though the current promotion set up isn’t sufficient, especially with the number of competitive clubs towards the top end of the division, adding: “When you look at the caliber of teams that are at the top of the National South table, it’s pretty harsh that only one side goes up automatically and one via the play-offs. We knew it was always going to be tough and would perhaps favour the big spending clubs.
“Credit to Maidenhead, they have kept competitive all season. I know Ebbsfleet are probably the favourites now, they’ve got a squad to die for and a budget possible on par with most Sky Bet League Two clubs and some in League One.
“But if we can get a victory on Monday it puts us on sixty-two and brings the gap down to eight points. You just never know what might happen. Eight points at this stage of the season aren’t enough for us to throw the towel in. On top of that, beating Maidenhead would help cement our place in the play-off places.
Stringer spoke highly of former West Ham United favourite, Alan Devonshire, who has done a sterling job in the York Road club’s hot seat, saying: “I’ve come up against Alan Devonshire quite a lot. We know the players that he has got with him at Maidenhead. They look to play percentages, ‘Devs’ is recognised for doing that well with his sides.
“We just have to approach the game positively and try to take something from the contest. I’m sure the boys will raise the bar and we’ll give it a good go.”