Crows poised for top five bid
ROYSTON go head-to-head with fellow high fliers New Bradwell St Peter on Saturday – knowing a win will lift them into the top five of the South Midlands Division One table. And it would be a remarkable turnaround for the club, after it had languished at
ROYSTON go head-to-head with fellow high fliers New Bradwell St Peter on Saturday - knowing a win will lift them into the top five of the South Midlands Division One table.
And it would be a remarkable turnaround for the club, after it had languished at the foot of the table for more than two months.
However, a nine-game unbeaten run has seen the revitalised Crows climb from the depths to become the league's team to beat, taking 25 points out of a possible 27 in the process.
But Saturday's opponents New Bradwell St Peter should give manager Paul Attfield his toughest challenge yet.
New Bradwell have lost only one league game since the beginning of September, and come to Garden Walk with one of the tightest defences in the league.
And with the Milton Keynes-based side occupying that coveted fifth spot, Saturday's game looks to be an entertaining affair, with Royston's growing number of fans sure to be expecting another three points.
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However, Attfield rejected the idea that the game was a must win, and instead highlighted that his young side still had plenty of points to play for.
He said: "We want to win every game, but for me the most important thing is to stay focused and consistent.
"We've got a tough run of games coming up and we'll see where we are after that.
"I've targeted the end of February as the time to judge the position we are in."
But with home games against Sport London e Benfica and Stony Stratford Town either side of away trips to Winslow United and Cheshunt Reserves, four teams they have already beaten, to follow, a promotion place should be well within The Crows' grasp.
Attfield said: "If we can get 10-12 points from our next five games then I'll be very happy. We still have 17 games to play so there are a lot of points up for grabs.
"And that starts on Saturday, although it's going to be a challenging game. They've got a good record, and a decent defence that doesn't concede too many goals. And like us, New Bradwell St Peter are one of a number of sides that will be looking at promotion."
And after last weekend's game against Buckingham Athletic was postponed due to the bad weather, The Crows squad remains fresh and at full-strength, with only 23-year-old Matt Turl absent after undergoing a hernia operation.
New signing, Ashley Townsend, will be hoping to make his Royston debut at some point, with his potential partnership with Craig Hammond the talk of the non-league forums.
Attfield said: "Ashley will be part of the squad and I'll be having a look at the players in training this week."
And with league leaders Hoddesdon Town just seven puts in front and having played one game more, Royston enter an interesting period where in a strange reversal of fortunes they could well be looking down instead of looking up.
# WITH his sights set firmly on promotion, Royston chairman Rob Stewart is leaving nothing to chance.
After overseeing the club's first paid-for signings, Mr Stewart has now appointed Royston's first performance coach, Steve Linger.
Mr Stewart said: "Steve will radically improve the squad's daily dietary habits and he will also introduce weekly, football- specific individual exercises and stretching programmes for the players."
Linger has already been working with striker Craig Hammond since his move from Mildenhall Town, and he will be formerly introduced to the rest of the squad at a pre-lunch meeting before Saturday's fixture with New Bradwell St Peter, with the chairman, manager and players also discussing the club's strategy to secure promotion this season and beyond.
Mr Stewart added: "This is another sign to show that we mean business. Steve is an excellent performance coach and I'm sure he's going to help us in a great way. We want to have the fittest squad in the league, because it can only improve the players' game."
Steve Linger is pictured with manager Paul Attfield, and players Craig Hammond, Ashley Townsend, and Luke Robbins.