Raiders ready themselves for final safety push

Worthing Raiders high performance manager Ian Davies hopes his side do enough in the final five matches to ensure their spot in the National League 2 South this season.

Thursday, 23rd March 2017, 8:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:56 am
Worthing Raiders high performance manager Ian Davies

Raiders were without a game last weekend but return to action at Roundstone Lane with a clash against tenth-placed Henley Hawks on Saturday.

A run of ten consecutive defeats up until February had threatened Worthing’s place in the division, leaving them second-bottom.

However, a recent revival has seen Raiders take 15 points from a possible 20 in four matches to leave 12th in the standings – four points and two places above the final relegation place.

Now Davies hopes the ‘breathing space’ his side have given themselves will be enough for them to remain safe.

He said: “Having secured 15 points from a possible 20 prior to the free weekend, the players and coaches have given us a little bit of breathing space.

“The next five matches are winnable, as is every match, but it is a test of the squad mentally in these games.”

Wins over Barnstaple, Taunton Titans and London Irish Wild Geese in the last four games has ensured safety is in Raiders’ own hands.

But Worthing will have their work cut-out in the final five matches as they come up against three teams in the current top-seven.

Though a difficult run of fixtures presents itself, Davies has every belief Raiders can accumulate enough points to avoid the drop.

He added: “As I said earlier this league is not an easy one. It is a league where teams can win home and away, which is quite unusual in a National League.

“The harder grounds will suit our running threats in Harry Forrest, Kiba Richards, Kariym Iriving and others so we wil always be in a contest, but it is the defence and collective work-rate that will secure the wins.

Having won back-to-back matches on just one other occasion this campaign, Raiders will be going in search of a hat-trick of wins in succession on Saturday.

With Henley in tenth their next test, Davies sees no reason why the squad cannot achieve something they haven’t managed to all season.

He said: “Henley is the next match where we can pick up league points, so yes it is important.

“Win this match and the focus moving forward can change, lose then it is a frantic look at other league results.

“Our mantra is control the controllables, don’t worry about weather, the officials, the other teams in the league and to some extent tht team we play on the day.

“Perform both individually and collectively to the best of their ability and everything else will fall into place.”

After a draining month of fixtures, Davies also believe a break last weekend will benefit both players’ and management staff.

He said: “The past month has taken it’s toll both physically, mentally and emotionally.

“The club means a great deal to this group and you see it week-in, week-out. The tough, long run of defeats was starting to wear people down the response has been superb in recent weeks and we need to carry that on.”

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