Hard to break down Brakes lay platform for a play-off push

Leamington boss Paul Holleran says his side's defensive solidity will provide the perfect platform for their play-off push.

Friday, 4th March 2016, 6:35 am
Ben Mackey celebrates his equaliser against Kings Lynn last Saturday. However, manager Paul Holleran said it was the strikers defensive qualities which helped form the basis of Tuesdays evening's derby win over Stratford.

A second clean sheet in three on Tuesday evening saw Brakes beat Stratford 1-0 to move just two points outside the Southern Premier Division’s top five.

The victory was their fourth in a five-game sequence which has seen them concede just three goals and Holleran said their miserly qualities will be central to their play-off challenge.

“Only a set play has prevented us from keeping successive clean sheets,” said Holleran, who saw his side draw 1-1 with play-off rivals King’s Lynn last Saturday.

“With 13 games left, if we can keep, eight, nine clean sheets we won’t be far away.”

While the back four and keeper Tony Breeden deserve most of the plaudits, Holleran said it was a tactical change which stifled Stratford’s attacking threat in midweek.

“Because we pressed so high with the front four we nullified them a bit,” he said.

“It wasn’t until they put another man in and overloaded the midfield that they started to get a grip of the game and you could see their quality in the second half.

“But it was a good derby and a good atmosphere and I really enjoyed it - I was delighted to keep the run going.”

Brakes face a severe test of their play-of credentials when they face Merthyr Tydfil on their 4G pitch tomorrow.

The fixture comes in the middle of a run of five home games for Leamington and while he acknowledges a point would not be a bad outcome, Holleran says his side will be going all out to come back with all three.

“We’re well aware how tough it will be and it is important to get something there before we get a little bit of a breather.

“But we want to go there and win the game.”

Rob Ogleby will be missing for Brakes tomorrow after suffering a grade one tear to a quad against King’s Lynn. However, he is expected to be pushing for a return against leaders Poole the following Saturday.