Chelmsford City manager Rod Stringer had some sympathy with Saturday’s opponents, Hungerford Town, and believed it could make them a more dangerous proposition as the Clarets wind up their regular National League South campaign.
Whatever the result, City knows they will be competing in the play-offs, while Hungerford, along with Poole Town and Darlington from the Northern section have been denied the opportunity due to an insufficient ground grading.
The trio of clubs were prevented competing because their grounds did not have 500 covered seats across two stands, and Stringer thought Hungerford might want to take out their frustrations on his side at Bulpit Lane.
“Obviously they have been turned down on their appeal so I’d imagine it’s a little bit doom and gloom there at the moment for them, Stringer said. “To be fair you have to feel sorry for them really. The way I look at it, these teams come into the division meeting the criteria and whatever else, but not a lot of clubs always have the money to get further work done,
“At certain times of the season, you’re not quite sure whether you’ll make the top-five. Besides which, how often do the clubs reach capacity every week?
“It’s very disappointing for Hungerford, but this could have an adverse effect from our point of view as they will be even more fired up and determined to beat us. They could see us as a way of taking out their frustrations and disappointment. We won’t know until Saturday when we get there and find out what their mindset is.”
The Clarets chief thought too much emphasis was placed on some of the clubs grounds and not enough on their playing surface, adding: “The footballing authorities seem more concerned about how many seats you’ve got as opposed to the quality of the pitch. To me, the playing surface is more important.
“I’ve witnessed a lot of very average pitches this season but that doesn’t seem to be an issue. The teams very rarely fill up that amount of seats.
“I understand that rules are rules, but they seem to be focusing on the wrong things.
As far as the game was concerned, Stringer urged his side to remain focused, saying: “All we can do is go there and remain focused on ourselves, let them worry about us and see where it takes us.
“We can’t treat the game as if we don’t need to take part in it because we want to finish in third place. We want to have the second leg of the play-offs at home, I think most people would. But then we have another pressure game swiftly following it, we have to look at it and realise what is more important.”
Chelmsford go to Hungerford without the services of Michael Spillane, who is serving the first of his three-match ban for a red card last time out against Bath City, while Bagasan Graham looks likely to miss out with a nagging hamstring injury.