Athletic look for a run to lift them into the top six

Lutterworth Athletic manager Mike English
Lutterworth Athletic manager Mike English

Lutterworth Athletic boss Mike English is targeting a top-six finish for his side.

The turn of the new year brings a focus on the business-end of the season with the halfway mark been and gone.

And, despite his team currently sitting 11th in the United Counties League Division One table, English believes there is plenty to play for a Hall Field in the remaining months of the campaign.

“I’m looking forward to all the games we’ve got come,” he said.

“Our aim, as always, is to win as many games as we can and finish as high as we can.

“I’d like to finish in the top six because that will get us into the FA Cup next season.

“And I certainly think it is possible.

“Apart from Pinchbeck – who really have the bit between their teeth – I think the next places are open to anybody.

“We’ve beaten Rushden (and Higham) who are third at the moment and I feel we’re capable of climbing into those positions.

“All it takes is someone to put a run of games together and second, third and fourth places are anybody’s.

“You can shoot up the table quite quickly.”

It turned out to be a frustrating festive period for Athletic as they lost to rivals Lutterworth Town on Boxing Day before seeing their game against Buckingham Town postponed on Saturday.

Nevertheless, English was still able to take positives from the last fortnight – and was impressed with what he saw in the derby game.

“The Boxing Day match was a fantastic day for the club,” he explained.

“The result was disappointing but I felt we probably deserved a draw from it.

“We were actually lucky to get the game on because of the conditions but I’m glad we did.

“It was the best day we’ve had at the club for a long, long time.

“We got a good crowd, made some much-needed money and there was nothing in it in the game.

“We had two or three key players unavailable and had to re-jig things a bit but overall I was really pleased with our work.

“We managed a high-scoring team well and probably deserved more from the game.

“But they are a good side.

“They are very direct, have a lot of pace and are scoring a lot of goals.

“I think they are a good outside bet to be right up there at the end of the season.

“I’ve said before that when you come in to a new league, that first season is probably your best chance to do something.

“Nobody knows you, you’ve got that winning mentality and all the factors come together to give you a good chance.

“I’ve seen it happen before and it was the same with us when we came up.

“Because of their strikeforce – they’ve got two or three lads who are very strong up front – I think they are ones to watch.”

Athletic this weekend will return to action with a home game against second-from-bottom Oakham Town.

For the Swifts there is a much tougher challenge.

They are also at home but face league leaders Pinchbeck United who currently hold a 10-point advantage over second-placed Raunds

Town.