Hednesford Town boss Rob Smith, fresh from a dramatic 2-2 draw with Nantwich Town on Saturday has praised the togetherness and commitment of his squad as The Pitmen prepare for a crunch meeting aganist league leaders Chester next Saturday.
Hednesford were reduced to nine men against their Cheshire opponents but incredibly took a 2-1 lead before Nantwich escaped embarassment with a draw and Smith could not praise his players enough.
‘Saturday is probably the most proud I have been in my whole management career. The ten, then nine who stayed on were a credit. We have seen that commitment time and time again, Stafford, Walsall and many others. It shows immense character and togetherness in the squad.’
Despite the obvious character of his players, Smith launched a staunch defence of the way he and his assistant, Larry Chambers, send out their team to fight for every ball in the face of ineveitable questions about the disciplinary record of his squad.
‘I don’t argue our disciplinary record is poor but we must remember I ask my players to be very competitive and stand up for themselves. Sometimes with frustration, the younger players show their inexperience and react in the wrong way but they will learn with time. I wont make any excuse for asking for 110% commitment. People bang on about fair play tables and discipline, but the teams who will be at the top end of the table will be those who are physically competitive.’
The Pitmen will again be expected to compete with the divisions top dog’s, Chester, next Saturday and Smith believes it is the home side who are under pressure.
‘In my eyes the pressure is all on Chester. We will go there to show we can play good football but I have little doubt they will win this division. Having said that we have beaten them twice this season and the players are looking forward to it.’
With the Hednesford squad looking thin on the ground following the exit of Pedro Monteiro last week and now the impending suspension for left back Darren Campion, Smith is hopeful of recruiting reinforcments sooner rather than later.
‘We are looking at a number of players and loan options. A new defender is a must because we are short there now.’
The Pitmen travel to Chester lurking three points behind the title-favourites on Saturday afternoon and could send a real message of intent with a positive result similar to their 1-0 victory at Keys park earlier in the season.