‘Upturn in fortunes is not just due to Austin’

Sam Austin in action against Poole. Picture: Morris Troughton
Sam Austin in action against Poole. Picture: Morris Troughton
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Leamington manager Paul Holleran is keen the impressive form of Sam Austin does not overshadow a rise in levels across the whole of his team.

Burton Albion loanee Austin was a clear man of the match in both Brakes’ win over Poole Town on Saturday and their subsequent 3-0 success over Dorchester Town - a victory that took them to within three points of the Southern Premier Division summit.

But Holleran says that while Austin is deservedly picking up the accolades, his side’s upturn in fortunes is not just down to one player.

“Sam is getting the plaudits and rightly so,” said Holleran. “But you can go right through the team. Tony and the boys at the back look solid and the boys in the middle of the park are giving us a solid platform, while Ben (Mackey) and Courtney (Baker-Richardson) are showing a great work ethic - Ben’s got his mojo back in recent weeks.

“We’ve got to try to keep going and keep the levels right and it’s about application and concentration levels.

“But at the moment we’ve got loads of belief and a sprinkling of quality.”

Trailing leaders Poole Town by 17 points at the beginning of February, Leamington are now just a win away from top spot going into successive away games at Dorchester and Chesham.

And, having been struggling in the lower reaches of the Conference North for the past two springs, Holleran says he is relishing the chance to pit his wits with the teams at the top end of the table.

“It’s been a good period for us but there are still 30 points to play for.

“The teams around us haven’t let their standards drop and it’s tight - I can see it going down to the wire.

“But at the end of the day this is where we want to be going into the last five or six weeks of the season.

“After struggling for two years, it’s nice to fighting it out for the play-offs and promotion.”

Dorchester Town have a chance to exact instant revenge tomorrow when Brakes travel down to Dorset for the reverse fixture.

However, Holleran believes his side will carry an important psychological edge after the ease of their victory in midweek.

“They’ll want to have a go back at us,” he said. “But our players will be thinking we did well against these, and we can do the same on Saturday.

“If you look at it from the Dorchester players’ point of view, their centre-half and right-back will be thinking ‘I don’t want to play against him again’.”

Central midfielder Joe Magunda will be missing again tomorrow after sitting out the midweek clash due to the knee injury he picked up against Poole.

He underwent a scan yesterday, with the best-case scenario a two-week lay-off.

Lee Moore returns to the squad after being unavailable on Tuesday.