BRENDAN Kelly says Bromsgrove Sporting’s involvement in the Southern League Premier Central title race is over after Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by Hitchin Town.
The Rouslers dropped to fourth in the table after their second home defeat in three games and their eighth overall this season – five points behind leaders Tamworth (62pts) having played two games more.
Layne Eadie’s penalty gave the Hertfordshire visitors a 50th-minute lead, one which was doubled by Alex Marsh 11 minutes later to seal victory, in spite of Will Shorrock’s goal to halve the deficit with 16 minutes to play.
Kelly was unable to hide his frustration after Bromsgrove’s fifth defeat on home soil in the league this term, and believes that his side are now out of the picture for automatic promotion.
“I think that’s us out of the running for the title now [after the Hitchin result],” he said.
“Even though the title has slipped away from us, we still want to finish as high as we can.
“I think the frustration comes from us having worked so hard to get into the position that we’ve been in, only for us to let ourselves down with the home form.
“It was just the manner in which we lost and the way in which we played. It was alarming that the lads didn’t seem to want it enough.
“You look at Peterborough dropping points in midweek and the fact we haven’t capitalised on those kinds of results, it’s just disappointing.”
With one new arrival coming through the door at Sporting in the form of Gibraltar international Reece Styche in the past week, who signed prior to the Hitchin game, the Bromsgrove manager says that he is eyeing the possibility of bringing in up to four new players to aid the Rouslers’ promotion charge.
“It’s difficult timing,” said Kelly in reference to the options available.
“If you want to bring in some quality, then you’ve got to pick and choose, some players are involved in title and promotion charges, and some are involved down the other end of the table.
“We’re looking at probably three or four new signings, it has to be done in order for us to evolve.
“It was a difficult one for Reece to come into on Saturday at two goals down, he was feeding off scraps but worked hard for us.
“He’ll be an asset to us, he’s clever in how he plays and as long as we create chances for him then he’ll convert them.
“He had some interest from some Step Two teams, and once it became common knowledge then he had quite a few calls.
“I’m delighted to have him on board, he wants to be a part of what we’re building here and is a proven goalscorer.
“With Mikey [Taylor] out, we need that physicality and he brings that too.”
While incomings are expected, Kelly anticipates some departures at the club as a result of Bromsgrove’s recent defeat, adding: “People can keep saying that we’re overachieving, but to not be up for it is alarming, some lads are playing for their futures now – it’s nothing personal but it’s necessary.
“There are characters at the club who I thought had exactly that, some have seemed to switch on and off throughout the season, and some went hiding.
“No one seemed to want the ball played into them and to show the bravery required.
“Credit to Hitchin, they deserved to win, but to be second in the table at home, I was hoping we’d come out as winners.”
A 4-0 friendly win away to Boldmere St Michaels on Tuesday night offered Sporting the chance to shake off their weekend hangover, as Richard Gregory (2), Lewis Chester and Styche racked up the goals.
Described by Kelly as a “good exercise”, he felt the meeting was a worthwhile one in terms of answering some of his underlying doubts.
“A couple of the lads did themselves justice, some didn’t, some alarmed me more, so it was definitely worth doing,” he said.
“It was good to get Saturday out of our system, but now we know there’s a bigger test ahead this weekend.”
The fixture referenced by Kelly being Bromsgrove’s trip to Nuneaton Borough on Saturday, a side who beat them 3-1 back in October and currently sit ninth (3pm).
Considering the pretext of both sides going into the game on back of defeats, with Nuneaton ending Redditch’s 25-match losing streak in a 3-2 loss, Kelly says a response is of the utmost importance.
“We’re wounded, they’re wounded, so it should be an entertaining game,” he said.
“We owe ourselves one after the way we played against them at home.
“Even more frustratingly, we’ve won roughly 66 percent of our away games, but only about half of the ones at home, so we need to carry on that stat on the road and get back to basics.”