BROMSGROVE Sporting manager Paul Smith insists the next 10 days of the season will play a crucial role in where the Midland League Division One title will go.
Sporting travel to Lichfield City tonight (Tuesday) looking to close the gap on league leaders Coventry United to just two points.
However, the Rouslers go into the game at Lichfield without several key players as Dale Edwards – who broke his ankle on Sunday and will be out for the rest of the season – is missing along with Jack Wilson, Sam Wills, Luke Dugmore and Brendan Kelly, while winger Reece Hewitt has a 50-50 chance of being involved.
And for Smith, tonight’s game will be a tough test with a squad that is stretched to its limits.
“It’s a huge game for us, especially as we have so many players missing,” he said.
“If we win, we can close the gap on Coventry United who play against Nuneaton Griff on Saturday (March 5) before coming to the Victoria Ground the following weekend, so I’m hoping Nuneaton can do us a favour.
“But as I have always said, first and foremost comes the game at hand, we need to go out there and get the result against a strong Lichfield side.”
Sporting go into tonight’s game coming off the back of a 2-0 victory over Earlswood Town in the quarter-finals of the Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup on Saturday, a win that keeps up the Rouslers’ hopes of a cup double this season.
Goals from youngster Ethan Hanks and the ever-present Sam Wills secured the victory for an under-strength Sporting side.
Yet Smith was quick to praise his youngsters in a routine performance on a difficult playing surface.
“The fact the pitch was not the greatest was a key factor on the outcome of the game,” he added.
“We put on a good performance and got the job done correctly – and we never looked in danger throughout the 90 minutes of football.
“I never doubted the young lads, it’s just a case that as the first team are playing so well there are limited opportunities but they went out there and played well.
“And with a few players missing for the game at Lichfield, it offers those lads the opportunity to keep the shirt on for a little while longer.”