FOOTBALL - Holleran hopes Brakes can avoid relegation battle - The Leamington Observer

FOOTBALL - Holleran hopes Brakes can avoid relegation battle

Leamington Editorial 29th Dec, 2022   0

LEAMINGTON manager Paul Holleran is wary of his side being dragged into a relegation battle with the Brakes just a couple of results clear of the drop zone.

Holleran’s side have drawn more games (11) than any other side in the National League North this season and have scored just 19 goals in 22 league matches.

However, the Brakes boss feels games over the festive period could prove crucial in determining where Leamington end up when the season comes to a conclusion in April next year.

Paul Holleran said: “We’ve got some great games over the festive period to build some momentum, we’ve got some key players back so hopefully we can build on the points we’ve got on the board and make sure we don’t get dragged into the relegation zone with four going down this year.

“On the whole, I think we’re about five or six points away from where I think we should be, there’s only one game where we really let ourselves down and that was Boston away.

“There have been stages this year where we’ve been close to the play-offs, three games later you’re looking over your shoulder – at the moment we’re looking over our shoulder.

“We know that if we had a good month we can get closer to the top seven, we could just do with a good period and get a few wins to get some momentum going, it can look very different very quickly in this division.

“It’s getting them few results together that is key to that and that is what we’ll endeavour to do.”

The Brakes have one of the best defensive records in the league, having conceded just 20 goals thus far, and with key forward players returning to full fitness, Holleran hopes his team will be more ruthless in the coming weeks.

Holleran added: “It’s a tough league, we’ve got to a find a way to turn some of the possession and moments into goals which would make life a little bit easier for us.

“It’s the kind of the league where you’ve got the full time clubs, you know where they are going to be, for the 14 or 15 clubs there is so little between them.

“All round, in the system we play, you’re looking at the top four players and set-plays to get goals, we’ve missed Dan Turner and he’s tough to replace, on top of the injuries all of our numbers are down in terms of goals.

“We haven’t scored enough from set-plays, individually and collectively we’ve got to do a little bit more, we’ve been solid and that’s given us a platform to stay in games.

“Going the other way, we’ve got to take collective and personal responsibility to be more ruthless and hopefully that is something we can do.”

And Holleran, who has taken charge of more than 600 games as Brakes boss, is pleased with Leamington’s festive schedule with the Brakes playing only on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Holleran said: “We’ve had some really good moments, a few disappointing moments and a few really disappointing moments, we’ve had a bit of everything.

“We’ve been affected by injuries to key players such as Dan, Jack Edwards and Joe Clarke which hasn’t helped, we’ve sometimes come out the wrong side of close games.

“There is still a platform to build on, we’ve got points on the board, it’s a very competitive league and the Christmas period will be key for us now, the games are spread about a bit which gives us plenty of time to recover and rest.”

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