Graves: We’ve more to offer

Hucknall Town manager, Andy Graves.
Hucknall Town manager, Andy Graves.
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Andy Graves has hailed his Hucknall Town side’s perfect start to the season as they recorded their fourth straight win last weekend.

The 2-1 FA Vase success over Clay Cross Town added to three successive league wins to start the campaign, Hucknall scoring 19 goals in the process.

And Graves feels his team has plenty more in the locker as the season gets into full swing.

He said: “You can never be happy with everything and we have to be cautious as we’ve been in this situation before, but things have started as well as they could have done and that’s been pleasing.

“But I still feel we have a lot more to offer. The football has been good but can be a lot better, particularly when we get a solid run of games together which has been hard up to now with the gaps between games we’ve had.”

Graves believes consistency will be key once the Yellows get a more populated fixture list. They have only played three league games up to now compared to the six played by three of the four teams ahead of them and five by second-placed Pinxton.

Graves said: “Selston had a similar problem over the last couple of years yet were able to put good runs together when they did play and ended up winning the title both times, so it can work in your favour.

“Up to now we’ve probably only been at our best for half or 75 per cent of games so if we need to I feel we’ve got more to offer when required.”

Graves’ side head to play Keyworth United in the league on Saturday, and as in previous seasons, he is keen to ensure what he sees as potential banana skins are navigated past successfully.

He said: “Last season we went there and it was a very strange game.

“We had some decisions go against us such as a couple of their goals being judged as having crossed the line when we weren’t so sure, and despite the fact we were camped in their half for almost the entire game we could only come away with a 3-3 draw.

“So these are the kind of games we need to win just as much as those against the top sides around us in the table, as not doing so in the past has probably cost us promotion.”

Last Saturday’s FA Vase win has set up a mouth-watering local derby in the next round with Eastwood Community due to visit Watnall Road on September 23.

The victory over Clay Cross was, on the evidence of the season so far, an uncharacteristically narrow one but Graves was just as satisfied.

He said: “What it showed was that we can grind out wins as well as ease to bigger ones, which was pleasing.

“Sometimes in games where you can’t play the sort of football you might want and get disheartened by missing lots of chances, you can end up losing the game.

“But on Saturday we kept plugging away and scrapped our way to a 2-1 win which I was delighted with as we didn’t get frustrated and kept focused on getting through and have been rewarded with a great tie against Eastwood.”