Yellows get relegation lifeline

UNDER PRESSURE -- Hucknall Town boss Tommy Brookbanks
UNDER PRESSURE -- Hucknall Town boss Tommy Brookbanks

RUMOURS that the number of teams to be relegated from the Evo-Stik League, Premier Division is to be reduced has given Hucknall Town fresh hope of survival.

But cautious manager Tommy Brookbanks is refusing to rely on outside influences as his side battle against the drop.

After two successive lifeline wins, Town are back deep in the relegation mire after a 1-0 defeat at fellow strugglers Whitby Town on Wednesday night.

The loss left Brookbanks’ side third from bottom in the table with only seven games remaining.

Four teams are scheduled to go down. But the rumours circulating suggest that only three will get the chop because one of Town’s cash-strapped rivals have failed a ground-grading to stay in the top flight.

Furthermore, only two teams, instead of three, are set to drop into the Evo-Stik Premier from the Blue Square North at the end of the season.

And with one of them confirmed as Redditch United, who are likely to go into the Zamaretto League, Premier Division, then only one of Hyde United, Gainsborough Trinity and Stafford Rangers would be left to fall into the Evo-Stik Premier.

However Brookbanks is refusing to pay any attention to the rumours. He said: “I have not heard anything about them.

“But if we are going to survive, I want us to do it ourselves. We don’t want anyone else to do it for us.

“I take no notice of things like rumours. There is always speculation about clubs.

“There are not many clubs in England that are not struggling. We cannot think about it. We have to put it on the backburner.

“We do not want to rely on other teams.”

A spokesman for the Evo-Stik League said he had heard nothing about the rumours and conceded that he could not speculate on them.

The Yellows’ next three games are against relegation rivals Ashton United tomorrow (Saturday), Ossett Town next Tuesday (April 5) and Burscough a week tomorrow (Saturday April 9) — and Brookbanks knows the scrap for survival is intense.

His side are 20th on 37 points, six points clear of next-to-bottom Ossett. To show how tight things are, Mickleover Sports are on 39 points in 15th place. So just two points separate six sides

Brookbanks said: “If we win tomorrow, the table switches around again.

“It is going to go to the wire. Someone with 49 points could go down.

“The lads were dejected after Whitby but straight away, they were saying they have to produce the goods on Saturday.

“We are up for the fight. It is not called a relegation scrap for nothing.

“We want nine points from our next three games. It’s as simple as that.

“They are all difficult games. Everyone is fighting for their lives. It is about who wants it most now.”

Tomorrow’s visitors Ashton lie in 13th place and will be buoyed by a 1-0 win at fellow strugglers Mickleover on Wednesday night.

Town welcome back defenders Wayne Diuk and Grant Brindley, who missed the Whitby trip through illness and work commitments respectively. But Anthony Griffith Junior is unavailable because of work.

The trip to Ossett is critical. The Yorkshire side have only won once at home all season, losing 12 and drawing three.

Meanwhile former Yellows striker Stef Frost, who struggled during a spell at Watnall Road in 2009, has signed for Blue Square North play-off chasers Boston United.