Caretaker Manager Chris Barker is treating his first home game in charge of The Shots as a Cup Final, as Welling United visit the Electrical Services Stadium.
“We’ve got 14 cup finals, and we’re not down and out,” he asserts. “We’re still out of the relegation zone, we’ve got a lot of home games to come, and we’re playing a lot of the teams in the bottom half. It’s still in our hands but it has to change – seven or nine points from our next three games (against Welling United, Alfreton Town and Dartford) would make a massive difference.
On their five consecutive defeats since the turn of the year, Barker continued: “Welling are on the same run as us, unfortunately for them but good for us. They score goals but they’re leak leaking some as well, so it could be an exciting game for the fans. But as long as we turn up, we’re hopeful of three points.”
Finally getting to play their first home game in over three weeks, Chris recognises its magnitude as much as the supporters – and the need for improved form. “We realise it’s a big game. Hopefully we can get the three points and impress our fans at home, because we know it hasn’t been good enough this season. I’m disappointed – we should be doing better than what we are.
“We have three massive games coming up and hopefully we can turn it around. We win as a team and we lose as team, and if we keep improving then we will move up the League. But we haven’t scored enough goals, as a team.”
When it comes to team selection, Barker will naturally treat himself as just another member of the squad, and – with Damon Lathrope returning to full-time training – it is a squad which he believes has enough quality and experience to guide The Shots to safety.
“I’m still a player, and if I’m fit I’m hopefully going to play, but if my form dips I’ll be dropped, simple as that,” he observes. “I’ve trained every second, the same as everybody else, and I’m no different to any other player.
“We’ve got hundreds and hundreds of games in experience throughout the squad. We’ve got Football League experience on the bench too. I had 16 players on Saturday (at Altrincham) and every one of them could have started. That’s a nice headache to have.”