Graves: It’s not over just yet

Hucknall Town FC v Eastwood Community FC, pictured is Joe Ashurst
Hucknall Town FC v Eastwood Community FC, pictured is Joe Ashurst

Andy Graves says there remains plenty to play for at the top of the Central Midlands League South despite Hucknall Town losing a crucial game at home to Eastwood last weekend.

The 1-0 loss leaves Hucknall fourth in the table, 13 points behind leaders Selston but with three games in hand.

And while the Yellows are relying on slip-ups if they are to earn promotion, Graves wants his players to simply keep winning their games.

He said: “The pressure is off us in a sense. It’s in Selston’s hands and it’s up to the teams behind them to keep them looking over their shoulders.

“Last weekend was of course a blow in terms of the result but also because we were the better team throughout and missed lots of good chances.

“There was an element of bad luck too in that we hit the post and the bar and had a strong penalty claim turned down.

“An individual mistake proved costly and you can’t really legislate for those but the lads will bounce back, I’m confident of that.

“Things can change so quickly in football and whilst it’s still mathematically possible we’ll give it everything.”

Graves was keen to emphasise that whilst promotion remains a priority for the club as it attempts to climb back up the football pyramid, should it not be achieved there are still plenty of things for fans and players to look forward to.

Work is now well underway on the Yellows’ new stadium on Aerial Way, just across the road from the club’s current Watnall Road home.

And Graves is keen to see his players keep performing well if they want to be part of an exciting future.

He said: “I want to see players commit to the cause and if they want to be involved when we move to the new ground then they need to show me their desire to do so.

“The pitch has been laid there now and it’s a case of all the building work taking place which I gather could take about 34 weeks.

“I’d hope we’d be playing games there by Christmas if all goes well.

“So there is lots to look forward to. People sometimes have to remember where we’ve come from and how hard it’s been to recover from the problems we had not all that long ago.

“If promotion is there, we’ll take it, but the priority has to be ensuring the club will remain on a stable footing.

“The new stadium will be good enough for National League football in terms of the grading, so whilst that’s a very long way off in a playing sense it gives you an idea of the quality of the ground we’ll have.”

Hucknall return to action this weekend when they visit Keyworth United.

United sit third from bottom with just ten points to their name, but as always, Graves will be taking nothing for granted.

He said: “We’ve come a cropper before against sides low down in the table and it’s up to the players to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“All we can do is keep winning our matches and what happens elsewhere is out of our control. If we do our bit then we won’t have any regrets if it’s not to be in terms of promotion.”

Meanwhile, Hucknall have been drawn to play Selston in the semi-finals of the League Cup although a date and venue for the fixture is yet to be confirmed.