NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Boss Matt Clements convinced he can keep St Neots Town up again
- Credit: Archant
Manager Matt Clements is convinced he is the right man to lead St Neots Town out of relegation trouble.
Saints slumped to a fifth successive Southern League Premier Division Central defeat when beaten 1-0 by local rivals St Ives Town on New Year’s Day.
It’s a miserable run which has left them second-bottom in the standings and three points from safety ahead of two more crucial home clashes against Royston tomorrow (3pm) and Leiston on Tuesday (7.45pm).
But Clements is determined to remain upbeat and has urged his players to adopt a similarly positive outlook despite their tough predicament.
The Saints chief kept the club up in the 2016-17 campaign after being appointed in late December with them two points from safety.
“We’re in another relegation battle and we can’t hide from that fact,” said Clements. “But what we can’t afford to do is wallow in self-pity.
“We can’t change what has already happened, but we can make sure we continue to be brave and stick our chests out.
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“Confidence obviously drops when losing games regularly, but it doesn’t mean players become bad overnight.
“I’m responsible for the team being in this position and I am determined to lead us out of it. Until any such time as I’m told differently, I’m not going anywhere.
“I feel I’m the best person to get us to safety. I did it two seasons ago and firmly believe I can do it again.
“It doesn’t really matter whether we are playing sides at the top, in mid-table or towards the bottom.
“We’ve got to prepare properly for every game, ensure we compete well and perform to the levels we know we can.
“We need a result to get us going and it will happen.”
Clements has brought striker James Hall back to the club almost two years after he departed from his last Saints spell.
Hall, who has joined from Cambridge City, is a direct replacement for Nabil Shariff who left for Stratford Town last week.
Shariff also left Saints for the Midlands club in the summer before returning in September, but he has again been lured by a club in an excellent position to reach the play-offs.
Another attacking debutant – Mason Wilson-Rhiney – was sent on as a substitute in the second half. He is a former Hull City scholar.
“We haven’t been putting the ball in the back of the net,” added Clements.
“There is only one way up for us at the moment and that is by scoring goals - and I feel James can do that.
“I inherited James as part of a squad when I came to the club and his mind was already made up to leave.
“He stuck around for two or three games while I got settled in and I have absolutely no issues with him.
“I’ve got no problem with Nabil moving on either. He had the choice to go to two clubs who are chasing promotion and I respect the decision he has made.”