Attfield wants final push

After going five points clear with three games remaining, the Crows boss says his players need to find another level

ROYSTON TOWN manager Paul Attfield says his team will have to raise their performance levels if they are to secure the league title.

The Crows won their eighth straight match on Saturday with a 2-1 win at home to lowly Hanwell, but the tense manner of the victory has made Attfield believe his players need to find another gear in their remaining three matches if they are going to fend off Dunstable Town. Their promotion rivals could only draw 0-0 at Hadley at the weekend, leaving a five-point gap, but Royston have three tough fixtures in the run-in with trips to Oxhey Jets (Saturday), Aylesbury United and a home match with Haringey Borough on the final day.

“I can’t help feeling we’re going to have to play better for longer periods,” Attfield told the Crow. We’ve been hanging on a bit in the last couple of games and we’ve got to address that. Maybe it’s down to a bit of naivety from us but also from the quality shown by the opposition. That’s not meant to sound negative it’s just I can’t help feeling we’re not going to keep getting away with it.

“[The win against Hanwell] doesn’t really change our situation,” he added. “We’ve still got to win two games and on paper we’ve got three tougher games than they have. It could be finished on Saturday, but it might not so there are lots of scenarios.”

Dunstable host Hillingdon Borough on Saturday before facing Hanwell Town (a) and Leverstock Green (h) in the final two matches. Their stalemate at Hadley was not expected, and Attfield says that, despite his side’s tough run-in, he wouldn’t swap places with their rivals.

“There is massive pressure on them,” he said. “They need to win all of their three games. We have a window of opportunity now and the players are dealing with it well but we’re going to have to up our performance level.”

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When Attfield arrived at Garden Walk in 2007, he set out a plan to get the club promoted within five years. And while he is on course to achieve that dream, there is no doubt in the manager’s mind the Crows are in great shape to go onto bigger and better things.

“Myself and (chairman) Steve Jackson have had a number of meetings about players and structure so we know where we want to go,” he said. “The club is geared up to play at a higher level and we are very close – but it’s not done yet and we still need to make sure we get over the line.

“Footballing-wise, you can learn a lot from the teams that have gone up before, and the last three teams to go up have all finished inside the top eight. It’s not a massive step up but physically and seniority-wise, it is a step up.

“All the players deserve the chance to play at the next level. We won’t need wholesale changes – maybe two or three more senior players – but generally I’m really happy with the squad, and the majority are tied down to deals for next season.”