Buckland is optimistic ahead of ‘one of the biggest games of the season’ at Eastbourne

Horsham YMCA celebrate during their 2-0 win over Littlehampton Town on Saturday
Horsham YMCA celebrate during their 2-0 win over Littlehampton Town on Saturday

Horsham YMCA boss Peter Buckland is optimistic ahead of his side’s trip to Eastbourne Town in ‘one of the biggest games of the season’.

YM have lost just once in their last 14 league games, with Saturday’s 2-0 win over bottom of the table Littlehampton Town leaving them second and a point ahead of the Yellows.

Buckland said that such a good run can only make him confident, but acknowledged the threats posed by a fellow high-flying side.

He said: “It’s got to be one of the biggest games for the remainder of the season.

“I wouldn’t go as far as to say the loser of the game wouldn’t get promoted but it will have a big impact.

“We’re as prepared as we ever will be. We’re in good form going down there and if we can’t produce a result, we can’t look at anything other than ourselves.

“We played Eastbourne Town at home earlier in the season and it was a really tough game.

“It was a cracking game that we sneaked as 1-0 winners but it could have gone either way.

“They are a very well organised side and they don’t hold back. They come back at you from the first minute to the last. They are also aware of how important the result is.”

Buckland believes that a win will make a top-two finish an even more achievable goal but they will still be in contention regardless of the result.

He added: “I really do think it will be (a realistic aim).

“If we don’t win it’s not out of the question, but it will be harder.

“We will certainly be going for it and won’t lie down easily.

“We are going in it with the mindset that we need three points, or at worst avoid defeat. We can maybe afford just two more defeats for the rest of the season.”

With many tired legs in the squad, Buckland plans to focus on set pieces and tactics in training to better prepare his players.

“We’re going to train Thursday night and give the lads as much motivation as we can,” he said.

“We will focus more on the set pieces and strategy, rather than the heavy stuff, as we won’t want to push them so much that they go there on Saturday shattered.

“The only downside to Saturday was that we lost Sam Schaaf (knee injury). I don’t expect him to be fit enough to start, which is a blow, particularly as it’s his home town.

“Liam Humphreys will probably be fit enough to feature, Brad Curtis is still out for quite some time but other than that I think we’re all right.”