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Eastwood boss expects title race to go the wire

James Duncan in action against Swanwick earlier in the season.
James Duncan in action against Swanwick earlier in the season.

Eastwood Community boss Jez Corthorn believes the exciting race for the Central Midlands League South title could well go down to the wire.

The Badgers are one of five or six teams in with a realistic shout of taking the title and with it securing promotion to step six of the pyramid.

Corthorn’s side sit second in the league going into Christmas, five points behind Selston but with a game in hand and having already beaten the leaders twice this campaign.

And the man in charge is delighted to be in the mix.

He said: “I’ve always said to the lads that if we can be in the top two or three at Christmas then we’ll have a great chance of winning the league and that is very much the case.

“Once injuries start kicking in and potential fixture pile-ups too, then as long as we can keep our own house in order we’ll have a great chance.

“We benefit from having the 3G pitch given our home games are always safe from the weather, and that could prove a big advantage to us later on.”

As always in any battle for position, beating the teams around you is crucial and having been the only team to have beaten Selston this year, and with rivals Hucknall Town still to play twice and Sherwood Colliery and South Normanton once each, Corthorn knows where promotion could be won and lost.

He said: “We really can’t afford to drop points against those sides given how tight it is. The same goes for any game but when the title race is so wide open, dropping points is highly likely to mean losing a position or two.

“But the lads have been brilliant and the place is buzzing at the moment.”

With Eastwood Community’s facilities at the Play Soccer USA 3G Arena widely recognised as among the best step seven football has to offer anywhere in the country, playing at a higher level remains the key aim for those in charge.

And whilst that brings with it added pressures, Corthorn knows it can also aid his team greatly.

He added: “Teams come here and want to beat us given the facilities we have and the pitch and so on, plus we have a good fanbase too.

“So we have to counter that but so far we’ve not been too fazed by it.

“The club is geared up for higher level football, right from the playing side through to behind the scenes and the social aspect.

“We’ve got a strong youth setup which has seen some quality players come through and star for the first team, including the likes of James Hallam and Paddy Webb who isn’t even 18 yet and has got about 20 goals for us this season.

“We also have Kelvin Mushambi who is at the other end of the scale age wise and is a great influence.

“The games are all filmed and put on YouTube and we have a good following both at home and away, so I’m really keen for us to keep our profile high, reach our potential and progress higher.”

Eastwood, who beat Blidworth 6-2 last weekend, are next in competitive action on January 11 when they host title rivals Hucknall Town.