Town on tenterhooks over promotion fate

Hucknall Town manager Andy Graves - Pic by James Williamson
Hucknall Town manager Andy Graves - Pic by James Williamson

Hucknall Town expect to know their promotion fate by Tuesday after a third place finish left them in limbo.

The club believe a Central Midlands League meeting on Monday night will decide their fate.

Hucknall missed out on the two top automatic promotion places in the Black Dragon South Division, but with champions Selston declining promotion, they are hoping that has opened up the door for them to progress.

“We are in limbo really,” said manager Andy Graves. “We have done all we can do and now it’s out of our hands. We have to wait and let the powers that be decide.

“We had been written off three times this season, but the lads showed great character in the way they finished the season.

“We now wait and see if that character will be rewarded with a promotion spot as we are still on that roller coaster and we aren’t ready to jump off yet if there is still a chance.”

Hucknall had to win their last five games of the campaign – a feat they completed with the 2-1 win at Blidworth Welfare last Saturday to move second.

But they were then pipped at the death by rivals Belper United, who pulled off a narrow 1-0 win at Swanwick Pentrich Road in their final game three days later to leapfrog into second.

“Belper and Pinxton had games in hand on us and they slipped up here and there while we won all our last five games, which was quite an achievement in itself,” said Graves.

“Great credit goes to the lads for winning those last five games. But we are stuck in between feeling flat and possible elation at the moment – we are just caught in the middle.

“We went up to Swanwick for the last game. Swanwick dominated most of the game but just couldn’t score. Belper just scored from a set piece header and that was enough for them. It was a bit deflating to watch for us.

“You can look over a season to where things didn’t go our way, missing so many players during January, missed chances, poor decisions, but there is not one game, other than the Swanwick home game, that we should not have got something from.

“But as disappointing as it is to finish third, I just want to say what a great effort all the lads, committee and supporters have put in over the whole season and again we have made progress as a club.

“It is progress that has put the club in an even more stable place than it was after winning the cup last season.”

The future certainly looks bright and competition for places should increase next season after Hucknall’s reserves pulled off a league and cup double and two or three made the first team under the guidance of Paul Stevenson and Matt Farmer.

“Stevo and Matt did a brilliant job with the young lads in the reserves and some of them broke into the first team,” said Graves. “To do the league and cup double is no mean achievement.

“The relationship between first and reserve teams has worked well.

“At some clubs they are run totally separately and when you want certain players, they don’t want you to have them. It’s never been like that here.

“Stevo has worked it spot-on for the benefit of the club with personal pride never getting in the way either way.

“He used to be my right hand man and now he’s his own man and doing a fantastic job.

“Stevo has also done a superb job on the pitch. It’s never been so good and everyone has commented on it.”