Seb Hayes has challenged his title-chasing Holbeach United players to bounce back from Tuesday night’s ChromaSport UCL Knockout Cup humbling at Yaxley.
The Tigers saw their treble dreams shattered by a crushing 3-0 defeat in the semi-final (see page 38), with boss Hayes worried the showing could derail the amazing work they’ve done this season.
Holbeach go into Saturday’s Carter’s Park clash with 14th-placed Cogenhoe United in second place in the UCL Premier Division table, just six points behind leaders Newport Pagnell with three games in hand.
Instead of self-destructing, Hayes wants the Tigers – who can still do a league and county cup double – to use the Yaxley loss as their “fuel” to go on and win the title.
But he’s warned his players that their positions in the team aren’t guaranteed in what he calls the “business end” of the season.
Hayes said: “Cogenhoe is always a hard game, no matter where they are in the league.
“We’re low on numbers, but we’ve got to give a Holbeach performance.
“People who watch us on a regular basis will know that the performance at Yaxley wasn’t us.
“We didn’t work for the changing room or play for each other. When we play for each other, we can beat anyone.
“When you get to the business end of the season and have big league and cup games, you can’t afford to have players having a day off.
“We had too many players not backing themselves or the club. They didn’t play for the shirt and it wasn’t acceptable.
“We’ve been rubbish for a game and a half now, if you include the second half against St Andrews.
“I’ve been reluctant to say that we can win the league. But I know how hard the lads have worked, so I back them.
“They’ve had their just rewards in the most part this season, but performances like Yaxley can do damage.
“The next five or six games are massive for us. We’ve got to use the Yaxley loss as our fuel to carry on going.
“The are all playing for their shirts, as we have players to come back. Some of them who played at Yaxley should be looking over their shoulders.”
Mitch Griffiths, Stacy Cartwright and Matt Warfield all miss out for the Tigers, but Joe Braithwaite should return.