Holleran focusing all his energy on Brakes’ survival

Jamie Hood was denied an injury-time equaliser Bradford by the officials. Picture: Sally Ellis
Jamie Hood was denied an injury-time equaliser Bradford by the officials. Picture: Sally Ellis

With Leamington’s Conference North status still in the balance, boss Paul Holleran admits he has not given next season’s player recruitment “a second thought”.

However, that does not mean Holleran is unsure where he and his side will be plying their trade after the summer.

And it is certainly not evidence of a lack of ambition from the former Halesowen and Rushall Olympic manager.

I haven’t given it a second thought,” said Holleran when asked about his planning for the 2018/19 campaign.

“All my thoughts are on trying to make sure we stop in this division.

“I’m desperate to stay up and I’m sure we will.

“We’ve grown this year as a club.

“If we can keep the nucleus of the squad together and add to it we can kick on a bit.

“We can be a decent side at Southern League level and give Dunstable and Cinderford a good hiding or we can test ourselves at the Conference North.

“I’m sure that fans would rather turn up to see the likes of Nuneaton and FC United and be travelling to York next Saturday.

“I accept we are one of the smaller clubs but in the second half of the season we have shown we can compete.

“If we get the recruitment right, we will be able to kick on.”

Holleran believes the high 40s will be enough to secure their Conference status and he says they should have reached their points target at Bradford Park Avenue last Saturday.

After falling behind to a first-minute goal, the visitors had a strong penalty claim turned down, missed another spot-kick and had two efforts ruled out, including an injury-time header from Jamie Hood.

It left Holleran a frustrated man but he said he could not have asked for more from his squad.

“On Saturday we had a great opportunity (to reach 47 points).

“It was as well as we have played away from home.

“Some of it was our own doing, we didn’t work the keeper enough and didn’t gets our shots off, but we had two good goals disallowed.

“It was bitterly disappointing but I couldn’t have asked for a lot more from the players.”

The postponement of Tuesday’s night’s home clash with Chorley due to a waterlogged pitch allowed Leamington extra preparation before their crucial trip to AFC Telford tonight and home clash with Curzon Ashton on Saturday and Holleran admitted the call-off was a “blessing”.

Curzon are level on points with Brakes after a win over Gainsborough yesterday evening, while Telford trail by three and Holleran acknowledged that a victory in either of the fixtures should be enough to ensure Conference North football for his side next season.

He said: “One more will probably do it and we need to win one of these two games.

“ The last thing we wanted before Curzon was a game on the Thursday.

“Tuesday night was a blessing. We know as a group we will have to put a lot of effort in.

“But unlike our last Thursday-Saturday fixtures at least we haven’t got a lot of travel.”