Home comforts bring respite from Leamington’s travel woes

Joe Clarke is expected to return from injury for Brakes against FC United.
Joe Clarke is expected to return from injury for Brakes against FC United.

Leamington boss Paul Holleran is banking on his side’s home form to steer them to calmer waters in the National League North, writes Paul Okey.

Successive away defeats have dragged Brakes back into the relegation mire ahead of a bank holiday double-header which kicks off tomorrow with the visit of FC United of Manchester.

A trip to AFC Telford follows on Monday but it is the visit of Tom Greaves’ side, followed by further home clashes with Chorley and Curzon which have Holleran plotting his way to safety.

“After Christmas I said the home form would be a major factor and that has proved to be right,” he said. “Our home performances have been good.

“Tomorrow will be the biggest league game of the season. They’ll come in numbers and it should be a cracking match.

“You hope to pick up points over the Easter Weekend and then one more win and you’re on 46-47 points and you’re trying to get to 50. It’s very fine margins.

“In seasons gone by we’d have enough points but it won’t be the case this year. But when you’re in a relegation dogfight with Tamworth, Telford, FC United and Alfreton you know you’re in a decent league.”

Brakes were unable to pick up anything from quickfire trips to Spennymoor and Stockport and although Holleran said his side were unlucky in the north-east, he admitted they were simply outclassed at Edgeley Park

“At Spennymoor, apart from putting the ball in the net there is not a lot more we could have done.

“We came away bitterly disappointed, I thought we’d missed a chance.

“The players didn’t put their heads on the pillow until 4/5am and then were are back on the coach Saturday morning.

“We came out of the blocks quickly at Spennymoor and that is exacty what Stockport did, except they scored.

“We made a few changes that didn’t work and we did look leggy.

“But they suffocated us, swamped us. They had a winger playing at right-back and it killed us. We were lucky to get out with 4-0.

“It’s the first time since the August Bank Holiday we’ve looked out of our depth.

“There are certain circumstances around that but that’s not to take anything away from from Stockport’s individual performances.

“Their standard of play in the first half-hour was as good as I’ve seen all season.”

Tony Breeden returns from suspension tomorrow, while Connor Gudger and Joe Clarke should be fit after injuries.