Bexhill United Football Club manager Ryan Light has set his players the tough target of 10 wins from their remaining 12 league games.
The Pirates head into the new year lying sixth in Macron Store Southern Combination League Division One with 37 points from their first 22 matches, exactly half of which have been wins.
Light said: “I think we need to win 10 of them. You look around at what the FA Cup qualification was last year and I think 10 more wins will get us in the FA Cup - and we won’t be that far away from the top three or four.”
Last weekend’s 2-0 victory at home to Seaford Town left Bexhill five points behind fourth-placed Lingfield having played two more matches and seven adrift of third-placed Wick having played one more game.
Speaking after the Seaford match, Light continued: “It’s a big ask, but if we can win our games here, like we did today, and start keeping clean sheets, then why not? And hopefully three wins in the (Division One) cup as well.”
Bexhill, who still have to play all of the top four teams, are at home in their next two scheduled league fixtures against teams below them in the table, starting with the visit of 11th-placed Hailsham Town tomorrow (Saturday).
“We’ve got a little run of home games now which we would like to turn into points and rectify the last two away games (a 3-1 defeat to Mile Oak and 2-0 loss against Little Common) really where we’ve fallen behind the pack a bit,” Light went on.
“Not with poor results because we’ve played two good sides, but we’ve got to come back here (The Polegrove) and use January as a springboard. January will be the defining month of our season.”
Bexhill won on penalties away to Hailsham in round one of the divisional cup during October and had to settle for a 1-1 draw in August’s reverse fixture against a Hailsham side which has lost five of its last six games, three of which have been against top four clubs.
Bexhill captain Craig McFarlane was stretchered off during the second half against Seaford with a painful leg injury sustained in a tackle and went to hospital that evening.
The central defender has no fractures or ligament damage, just severe and very colourful bruising down the side of his leg, and is likely to be out for around a fortnight.
McFarlane picked up a booking for the tackle which led to the injury, meaning he is suspended for tomorrow’s match, but he won’t be fit in any case.
Craig Ottley has returned from the United States and is likely to return at left-back as Luke Woodley, who has played on the left in the two matches over the festive period, will go back to parent club Hollington United.
“Luke Woodley’s come in and been fantastic,” said Light, who added that availability for the Seaford game was so good that he had to leave players out of the matchday squad. “He’s been really good to have around the place, and we really appreciate that from Scott Price (Hollington’s manager) and Hollington.”
Liam Foster is unavailable due to work, but Chris Rea should return. Kick-off at The Polegrove is 3pm.