Badgers ready to face league leaders as hunt for win goes on

Experienced striker Gareth Grant has joined up with the Eastwood squad as they seek to make more of the chances they create in front of goal.
Experienced striker Gareth Grant has joined up with the Eastwood squad as they seek to make more of the chances they create in front of goal.

Gary Hayward says his Eastwood Town side will visit leaders Leek with nothing to fear this weekend despite the clubs’ respective league positions.

The Badgers sit third from bottom in the table, level on points with basement side Bedworth and Kidsgrove Athletic but ahead on goal difference.

Leek, meanwhile, are four points clear at the top and have lost only once at home all season.

But Hayward says his team fears nobody and will set their stall out to earn points from the encounter.

He said: “Leek are a good side and aren’t top of the league for nothing, but we’ll have a game plan and as we’ve done in recent games, aim to restrict the number of chances our opponents create.”

Last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Sutton Coldfield Town again left Hayward satisfied with his side’s work ethic.

He added: “Their striker is on about half of what our entire playing budget is so that tells you how up against it we are, but I can’t fault our players for how hard they’re working.

“We’re just not having much luck at the moment. We had two glorious chances in the first-half and the goal was a strike we could have done nothing about.

“Our luck has to change at some point. The squad is settling a bit more now and we’ve performed well against a few teams since I came here so still firmly believe we’ll stay up.”

Goalkeeper Denham Hinds has now left the club for Kettering after playing just two games for Eastwood, but Hayward has brought in striker Gareth Grant who has experience with Bradford City, Lincoln City and various non-league clubs.

“We lost Tyrone Burton injured early on at Sutton Coldfield and Luke Rowe was at a wedding so we were a bit depleted, but we’ve got a squad of around 20 now despite the very low budget so the strength in depth is getting better,” said Hayward, who also added that the new-look Badgers social club will shortly re-open with several functions planned for the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the Badgers received a boost with the news that they have been given an extra eight weeks to fight a winding-up petition brought by HM Revenue and Customs.

The Advertiser understands relevant paperwork is now with HMRC which club officials believe will see the order quashed, the subsequent adjournment meaning a new court date of January 13, 2014 - if there is still a case to be heard.