FOOTBALL: Championship challenge is ‘massive achievement’ for Holbeach United
Seb Hayes insists Holbeach United are not favourites for promotion.
The top two will automatically go up at the end of this term from the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League’s Premier Division.
The Tigers took over the number one spot last weekend – only to drop back into second on Tuesday night as Yaxley smashed eight goals past Boston Town.
Holbeach boss Hayes said: “Wisbech Town must be title favourites at the moment because of their squad, resources and manager Gary Setchell’s higher-level experience.
“Then you have to look at Deeping Rangers’ run-in which favours them, having already played so many of the top teams.
“Below those two, there are ourselves plus Yaxley, Newport Pagnell Town and Eynesbury Rovers.
We have proved a few doubters wrong by getting into this position. Now we’ll need to prove a point again by staying in the title race.
“If Leicester Nirvana win their games in hand, they will be back in the mix as well.
“But teams need to play regularly and they must catch up to get involved again.
“At this stage, I believe that Wisbech and Deeping are the front-runners.
“However, we have still got to play Leicester Nirvana and Wisbech at home, as well as tough games away to Desborough Town, Daventry Town and Cogenhoe United.
“We have tricky fixtures but we have done pretty well against top teams so far this season.
“We’ve dropped points at Rothwell Corinthians and Boston so we can’t take anyone lightly.
“We can’t afford to take our eyes off the prize so we must treat every team exactly the same.
“We have proved a few doubters wrong by getting into this position. Now we’ll need to prove a point again by staying in the title race.”
Yaxley face bottom side Oadby Town this weekend while Holbeach are back home against Wellingborough Town.
Hayes added: “Being part of this title race is a massive achievement by our lads.
“I remember just before Christmas when, although we had games in hand, Newport Pagnell Town had a chance to go 15 points clear. We have gone in front of them now.
“A lot of people wrote us off by saying we wouldn’t even finish in the top eight.
“Being in the mix at this stage is unbelievable from a group of players including a few who came here from clubs at the bottom of our league or Division One.
“It was a massive moment by turning that around last weekend.
“We should have been 4-0 or 5-0 up at half-time but we got a big response to win it at the end after Harborough had the momentum from their late equaliser.
“Now we’ve got to make sure that we back it up with another win on Saturday.
“Wellingborough can hurt anyone if you let them play as they have pace out wide.
“We must play to our own strengths again after winning the away game at the end of October.
“We pressed them, won the ball back and gave them no time.
“My next problem will be trying to keep everyone happy in the squad.
“Not many other teams in our league have the quality of Matt Warfield, Lewie Harker, Stacy Cartwright, Will Bird and Sanders on the bench.
“We need to manage this squad because everyone will play a part before the end of this season.”
Hayes will serve a second game of a five-match stadium ban for using foul and abusive language to match officials at the Boxing Day derby against Wisbech Town.
However, he is hoping to clear his name following the assistant referee’s allegation of an attempted headbutt by Hayes.
Hayes has collected more witness statements and the case is being investigated by Derbyshire FA.