Matt Horne - set to return
NEWBURY BLUES can only control their own games and hope that play-off rivals Salisbury make a slip along the way as the teams go into the final four games in South West One East.
With Towcestrians all but nailed on as champions, barring calamitous slip-ups against two of the league’s lower orders, Blues and Salisbury are chasing the end of season play-off spot against one of Newent, Thornbury or Weston-Supr-Mare.
Blues’ four match run-in begins on Saturday with the visit of Maidenhead, a game given added spice as Maids were the last side to beat Newbury in December before Blues embarked on their 11-match unbeaten run while Saturday’s visitors boast good home form on their artificial surface but an away record that has yielded nothing but reverses since November 7.
“On paper we are the in-form team in the league,” said Blues’ head coach Lee Goodall, “and they are probably not far off it.
“But then you look at their away record and you don’t know what team is going to turn up. This is still gong to be a test of our resolve at home.”
The run-in continues with the visit of Windsor, a trip to Swindon and a final home outing against Trowbridge, while Salisbury are Windsor this week, Leighton Buzzard next and then at home to Witney and away to Reading with all sorts of permutations possible.
“We can only control what’s in front of us,” said Goodall. “This is a big one for us and a viable threat from a team that’s in form and at the back of the mind is that they are the last team to beat us.
“All we can do is keep focusing on what is a huge game for us this weekend.
“If we can finish off the season with four wins, and keep the pressure on the other teams, we’ll see what happens, but it certainly makes the league exciting.”
Blues have had a week’s break since their record-busting antics at leaders Towcestrians. Matt Horne and Kyle Doel missed that game but return to the squad along with Joe Pigott and Andy Herriott. Ryan Trevaskis is nearing a return, but Rob Drysdale misses out as Blues will select from 20 for Saturday’s game.