Badgers confident as top two prepare to do battle

Eastwood  (in red) and Selston last met in September, with visitors Eastwood running out 4-2 winners.
Eastwood (in red) and Selston last met in September, with visitors Eastwood running out 4-2 winners.

Eastwood CFC director of football Jamie Bennett says he’s been delighted with the progress the club is making this season - as they prepare for what could be one of the most important games of the campaign.

The second-placed Badgers host leaders Selston on Friday night (25th) with it all to play for as both sides begin the second-half of their respective seasons having already played 14 games each in the CML South.

And with Eastwood having won the last six games on the bounce in all competitions, Bennett is in confident mood despite Selston having won 12 of their last 13.

He said: “We’re really pleased how things are going from a first team perspective and Friday night will be a massive game for which we’re hoping to see a big crowd. Plus we’re in great form so are raring to go.

“We’re up where I hoped we’d be in terms of competing for the promotion spot and that’s where we need to stay if we want to progress.”

Looking ahead, Bennett is keen to see Eastwood gain promotion should they win the league, or be in a position to do so should the eventual league champions be unable to go up, as was the case last year with Selston.

He said: “As things stand you’d think it would be between ourselves, Selston, Hucknall and Sherwood to win the league. At the moment, only Selston don’t have floodlights so wouldn’t be able to go up, so unless they are able to get some installed, which they may well do, we have to be ready to take the promotion spot whether or not they win the league.

“We will be putting an application for promotion in before the new year and given the facilities we have here we are more than ready when the time comes.”

In terms of the club’s current state overall, Bennett says the social side is thriving while Eastwood’s teams at various age groups are all attracting good quality players.

He added: “We’ve got a strong and full-time academy with 27 players across the U19 and U21s. The junior side is also thriving.

“We’ve also been given permission to run higher education courses next year too, right up to degree level, which is a huge boost for us.

“On top of that, the big room in the clubhouse is now fully refurbished and we’re hosting functions every week, so things are flourishing.”

Of the group of four men that took over the club, only Bennett and Brian Willows remain with Steve Yardley and Ben Marshall now pursuing other business interests. Both Bennett and Willows are full-time employees, with Bennett adding: “We work really hard to push the football club and the business. The supporters have been fantastic this season in being at games and also representing the club too, so overall we’re delighted with how things are going.”

Following the Selston game, Eastwood have a break until Wednesday, December 7 when they return to action with a Notts Senior Cup tie at home to Evo-Stik Division One South side Carlton Town.