Eastwood CFC’s players understand the importance of this Saturday’s clash with neighbours Hucknall Town, says joint-manager Dave Marlow.
A narrow 2-1 defeat in the reverse fixture last weekend was Eastwood’s first in the Central Midlands Football League South Division since the start of September.
And Eastwood are keen to “put things right” when the two teams go head-to-head for round two at the Play Soccer USA 3G Arena, with more than points at stake.
Marlow said: “It was a disappointing performance from us last Saturday and I thought Hucknall fully deserved the victory. But as far as I’m concerned it’s only half time.
“We’re still in the race.
“We’ve dropped the same amount of points as Hucknall now so this game becomes even more crucial. It’s good that we’ve got the chance to get parity so quickly.”
Eastwood’s management team called a meeting with players and staff after the game at Watnall Road - and ahead of a crucial run of games in their bid for the title.
“We spoke to them collectively and individually and we’re positive and assured by their responses that they’re going to make it right this week,” said Marlow.
“We all have a responsibility as a club to make it right because our target at the end of the season is promotion so it’s a big game against our local rivals.”
A trip to league leaders Sherwood Colliery awaits Eastwood on 6th January in what could prove to be a pivotal week in their aspirations for silverware this season.
“It’s very tight up there and that’s what makes these three points all the more important,” said Marlow. “If we lose again to Hucknall, they gain extra ground on us.
“We’ve got Sherwood next week as well and these next two games are massive, starting with Hucknall.
“We’re at home and the players understand that last week was not good enough. We have that opportunity now to make things right so quickly.”
Marlow said the home 3G surface at Coronation Park will give his players an advantage - but warned that good players will soon adapt and thrive on it if given the chance.
“It’s our ground and we’re used to playing on that surface. When I speak to players who come and play here they love it, they really do.
“Sometimes it does take teams half an hour to get used to the roll of the ball but if you’ve got good teams and good players then they like playing on it.
“It is an advantage because we play on it every week but I’m sure Hucknall won’t mind playing on there this weekend. At least they know it’s likely to be on.
“Unless we get heavy snowfall then they know the game will be on - and we’re very much looking forward to it,” added Marlow.