Boss Seb Hayes has expressed his pride at how well Holbeach United have done in the first half of this season – but thinks they’ll need seven points from three Christmas games to have any chance of challenging for the ChromaSport UCL Premier Division title.
The Tigers, who saw last weekend’s game at Kirby Muxloe postponed, have a very tough trio of festive fixtures against Deeping Rangers (home, Saturday, 3pm), Wisbech Town (away, Boxing Day, 3pm) and leaders Newport Pagnell Town (away, December 30, 3pm).
Hayes, who has never spoken about his team as title challengers, feels Newport Pagnell may already be too far ahead at the top after Tuesday night’s 2-2 draw at Wellingborough Town sent them 12 points clear of second-placed Holbeach.
Regardless of their title chances, the derby clashes with third-placed Wisbech and fifth-placed Deeping ensure that local pride is up for grabs – and Hayes says finishing above them is an achievable goal.
“The title may already be gone,” admitted the Tigers chief. “You just have to say fair play to Pagnell, they keep on winning games.
“Yes, we’ve all got games in hand. But it’s hard chasing.
“I’ve never once said that we’re in the title race, which people may find funny because we’re second.
“If we are to have any chance, we need at least seven points from the three games – and three of those have to be against Pagnell.
“It’s fair to say that we’ve got the toughest games. But we’re not scared of them.
“All of the matches are what I’d call 50/50 games, they could go either way.
“Obviously, if we can’t win the title, we want to finish as the top local team.
“Deeping had that last season and have already beaten us this season.
“Likewise, Wisbech embarrassed us last season and we have some wrongs to right there.
“The lads know that they can beat anyone on their day, but we’re also self-aware enough to know that we’re capable of losing to anyone when we’re off our game.
“We thrive on proving people wrong. Nobody fancied us at the start of the season, but now we’re being rated as title outsiders by some people. That fills me with pride.”
Regardless of what happens over Christmas, Hayes feels the first half of Holbeach’s season has been one to be proud of.
They are in the final of the Lincs FA Senior Trophy and into the last four of the UCL Knockout Cup.
Add their league form into the equation, plus the promotion of many youth players and progress being made off the pitch, and the Tigers chief is excited for the future.
“I’m so proud of everyone at the club,” added Hayes. “Everything is going in the right direction.
“The progress we’ve made on and off the pitch over the past 12 months is massive and we’re now reaping the rewards. I’ve set high demands for the lads, but they continue to meet them.”
Charley Sanders (banned) and Matt Warfield (injured) miss the Christmas fixtures.