‘Places to be played for’ - Graves

Hucknall Town manager, Andy Graves.
Hucknall Town manager, Andy Graves.

Hucknall Town’s title tilt might be over for another year but there is still plenty to be played for, says boss Andy Graves.

The Yellows are looking to cement a joint best place finish of third in the Central Midlands Football League South Division, after recording their highest number of wins in a season.

And, with three games still to be played, boss Graves said it is also a chance for individuals to impress as he looks to build a squad capable of challenging again next time around.

Graves has already hinted there will be changes this close season and has the tough task of recruiting a striker he says is the “missing piece of the jigsaw”.

“There are places to be played for if they want to be part of the squad next season,” he said. “We’re looking at a couple of players and others have approached us as well.

“At the end of the day, it’s getting that striker. It’s the only piece we’re missing. If people look at the statistics it’s the only piece of the jigsaw we’re missing.”

Hucknall boast the second best defensive record in the division but are joint-fourth for goals scored - and some behind Eastwood, Sherwood and Pinxton.

Those three teams all possess a striker who has found the back of the net more than 20 times this season and it something the Yellows desperately need.

“We don’t have one in the top 10 and that says it all,” said Graves. “They’re a premium. There’s no way we could break the club’s principles financially.

“We’re stable in that sense. If we could have got a sponsor in then maybe, you never know, but we play with the cards that we’ve got.”

And added: “It was unfortunate that we lost our striker (Shaun Smith) earlier in the season, he’s proved invaluable for Sherwood.

“He’s their top goalscorer so I don’t think we were far off in the thinking of what he could give us and how he would fit. Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out.

“If we’d have kept him, no-one can say for certain 100 per cent but, we would be in a better position than we are in now.

“We’re in a good position now - third in the league, more wins than any other season - but everyone else is improving as well.”

Saturday sees Hucknall travel to take on Hilton Harriers - in a 5pm kick off - who lost 5-1 at Eastwood on Wednesday night.

“We still want to finish third and as high as we can. We have finished third before but this will be our highest finish with most wins in a season.

“Everyone else has done really well around us. Sherwood could go all season without losing a game and still not be promoted - that’s how tight it is.

“It could go down to goal difference if they’re level after the last game, which might cause a few issues, as the league allowed Eastwood to play an extra home game.

“But that’s them and as for us we’ve got to win our games and Pinxton, who lost the other night, have got to win their games.

“It could come down to the last game as well when we face each other.

“We’re in a better position now. They’ve lost twice since we lost to them but we’ll be looking to put that right on the last day and finish the season well.”