It’s all about getting the performance right on promotion-chasing St Ives Town’s big play-off semi-final night

The loss of captain Luke Knight (right) to injury is a blow to St Ives Town ahead of their play-off

The loss of captain Luke Knight (right) to injury is a blow to St Ives Town ahead of their play-off clash. Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM - Credit: Archant

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke insists the biggest occasion in the club’s history must be treated as just another game.

The Saints travel to Egham tonight for a Southern League Division One (Central) play-off semi-final (7.45pm).

The third-versus-fourth showdown in Surrey provides the toughest test yet in the club’s finest campaign, but Marheineke is at pains to ensure the pressure is off his players as they focus fully on delivering the right performance.

He said: “The important thing is to ensure we play the game, and not the occasion.

“The next match is always the most important and it is another one we want to win.

“If we manage that we’ll have another big game on Bank Holiday Monday in the play-off final.

“To perfectly honest, I think there is a lot more pressure on Egham. They finished in the league and they are the home team.

Most Read

“At one point it looked as though it was their league title to lose, but they ended up dropping to third despite a really good run of form recently.

“They’ve picked up some good results lately and I think a lot of people will expect them to beat us.

“But we have proved we are capable of getting a result against team in the division on our way – providing we put in the right performance.

“We’ve got the best defensive record in the division and have lost the least amount of games of any team.

“The lads have hit every target and responded to every challenge they have been set during the season.

“They have earned the opportunity to be involved in the play-offs and they’re looking forward to doing the best job they can for the club.”

Marheineke will name the same squad as for a 6-1 drubbing of bottom side North Greenford in Saints’ final fixture of the regular season last Saturday.

Full-back Scott Sinclair and midfielder Jared Cunniff continue to serve suspensions although the former will be available should Saints advance to the final.

The loss of captain Luke Knight to a hamstring problem has provided another blow.

“It is not ideal to have some important players missing,” added Marheineke. “But I know the men I do have available will give their all for the cause.”

Second-placed Royston host fifth-placed AFC Rushden & Diamonds in the other semi-final tonight.