Grantham Town manager Adam Stevens has this week set his team a double ambition.
Having got through to the semi-finals of the Northern Premier League Integro Cup with a win after penalties over Nottingham-outfit Basford United at The Meres on Tuesday, he is now tasking his young team to believe they can now go on and win that trophy and reach the play-offs.
A tough ask, Stevens said, “but having lost only one of the last 21 games – why not?”
The Gingerbreads entertain old rivals Ilkeston at The Meres tomorrow (Saturday) and Stevens is only too aware of the history between the two clubs as they have been rivals for promotion before, with a 2,000 gate seeing Grantham triumph in the days of Gary Mills, and more recently a big 800-plus gate for the clash in the year that Town won the Division One South title in the 2013/14 campaign.
There is a bit of rivalry between the two clubs and three of the Gingerbreads squad used to play for them, so the match has real meaning for both clubs. It should be a good encounter as both teams need to win – Ilkeston to kick-start a recovery to avoid relegation and the Gingerbreads to keep in the chase for promotion.
Stevens himself is clear on the importance of the forthcoming matches: “There is no doubt that the next two home games are absolutely vital as, having drawn against promotion-chasing rivals teams like Matlock, Workington and Nantwich recently, we now need to get back to winning ways to keep the points total ticking over.
“We could have won at Nantwich last Saturday and that shows how far we have come as a team since they humbled us at home earlier in the season.”
This week Town club chairman Roger Booth also went public with a special thank you to fans that have backed the team home and away this season.
Mr Booth said: “It is great that the attendances have gone up over the season and fans have realised that something special is on offer at The Meres, and we hope that they continue to come in increasing numbers for our remaining games.”
Kick-off at The Meres tomorrow is 3pm.