Bobby Wilkinson - securing survival the main aim
HUNGERFORD TOWN take their eight match unbeaten league run onto the plastic at Eastbourne Borough on Saturday with manager Bobby Wilkinson’s interest still min securing his side’s place in Vanarama National Legaue South rather than looking upwards towards the play-off places.
The Crusaders are only four points adrift of those slots, but Wilkinson insists: “Our achievement will be to stay in National League South. We were favourites to be relegated on the first day of the season,. and our one target is to get the points to make sure that does not happen.
“If and when that happens, then we can look again and wonder if we can start to move up the table.”
Hungerford face an Eastbourne side that dealt Hungerford their first defeat in the competition when winning 2-0 at Bulpit Lane in August, and the Sussex side is still hopin to join the play-off mix if it can string together a winning run.
The former Langney Sports are managed by former Salisbury boss and Southend assistant Tommy Widdington, and the ex-Southampton player has two promising loanees on his books, Alex’s brother Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain from Portsmouth, and defender Jordan Holmes from Bournemouth, where he featured in the first team squad at Liverpool and Chelsea this season.
“It’s another difficult trip for us,” said Wilkinson, “and they have a 150 per cent home advantage as they play on plastic.”
Hungerford will be without Alan O’Brien, who tweaked a hamstring early on in Tuesday night’s cup tie, but Nat Jarvis returns after being rested from that match.
Hungerford have also extended winger Garyn Preen’s loan to Evesham United for another 28 days.
BOROUGH are slight favourites with the bookies and bet365 quote them at 11/10 while Hungerford, who have the league’s third best away record and have scored 61 per cent of their goals on the road, are 2/1 with a draw priced at 5/2.
A single goal win for either side is priced 8/1 and 10/1 respectively while Hungerford’s chances of repeating their 4-1 win at Gosport of last week are rated at 50/1.