Top of the Table Clash
This weekend see’s second place Raunds Town host table toppers Pinchbeck United, in a clash which promises to play a pivotal part in the race for promotion from Division 1. We spoke to Raunds Town manager James Le Masurier to see what he had to say ahead of this weekends top of the table clash.
UCL: Big game against first place Pinchbeck this weekend, are you feeling confident going into it?
James Le Masurier: On the back of a disappointing defeat against Bugbrooke last weekend, we are looking for reaction against Pinchbeck. We’ve performed well in recent weeks. I would say Pinchbeck are the favourites this weekend based on form, which puts less pressure on us, so hopefully the lads can just go out there and enjoy their football, and hopefully get a positive result.
UCL: How are the squad feeling going into this game on recent form?
James Le Masurier: If you look at the games we’ve lost, they’ve been against teams like Bugbrooke and Melton, and with no disrespect to those sides, they’re in the bottom half and being where we are in the league wed like to believe we can beat those sides. However, I would say we are better equipped to play against better sides, so hopefully that shows this weekend. We’ve got a great togetherness which really shows out on the pitch.
UCL: Last time you played Pinchbeck you lost 4-2 in the Knock Out Cup at home, what do you expect from Pinchbeck this weekend and will you set up differently after last time?
James Le Masurier: I don’t think so, we were resting quite a few players that day and giving fringe and reserve team players a chance, and so were Pinchbeck, but this time I expect 2 full strength sides, so it will be a completely different game to last time. They have pace, quality and strength so we’ll have to be at our best. Sometimes you have to let teams think they’re on top and then hit them on the counter
UCL: A win would put you top of the league, but a defeat would put you 4 points behind having played a game extra, how important could a win be and how detrimental could a defeat be?
James Le Masurier: I don’t think we’ll look back at this game and think it cost us if we don’t get promoted at the end of the season, it’ll be losing to the teams lower in the table that will have cost us, we would only have ourselves to blame. Having said that we are still aware it is a big game, its important to beat the teams around you. We don’t want the teams below us catching up, there’s still a long way to go, but we are really hoping to get a positive result.
We also spoke to Pinchbeck United manager Ian Dunn about the task of overcoming Raunds Town, here’s what he had to say.
UCL: Since we last spoke to you you’ve won every game with 5 wins on the spin, what do you put your recent form down to?
Ian Dunn: Not too sure, consistency I suppose. The lads have been applying themselves in training and applying the games plans very well. We don’t pick the same team every week, we pick a team depending on what we think will best suit our opposition.
UCL: Last time you played Raunds you won 4-2 in the Knock Out Cup away from home, are you feeling confident going into this weekend?
Ian Dunn: We feel confident going into every game. Its difficult to judge them based on the Knock Out Cup game, we left about 7 lads out that game and I know they weren’t at full strength either. But we’ve won 9 out of our last 10 and I believe confidence breeds success, and there’s definitely a lot of confidence within the squad at the minute.
UCL: 2 Clean sheets in your last 2 away games, do you set up differently when your away from home?
Ian Dunn: Not necessarily, its more dependant on our opponent. Players can naturally be more cautious away from home so perhaps that could be a factor, but the goals we’ve conceded at home recently have just been sloppy mistakes, but hopefully we can make it a third clean sheet in 3 away games this weekend.
UCL: A win would put you 4 points clear with a game in hand on second place, how important could a win be and how detrimental could a defeat be?
Ian Dunn: I think psychologically its huge, it’s definitely a massive game for the club. Its important not to lose, we can’t come away with nothing, but were not playing for a draw, were not that kind of team. A win would be great to widen the gap between us and second place, we can’t play it down, it’s a huge game.
For anyone interested in attending this weekends top of the table clash, below are all the details of the fixture.
18th November 2017
15:00 Kick Off
Kiln Park, London Road, Raunds, NN9 6EQ