08:00AM, Saturday 06 January 2018
HEREFORD have the financial clout to win the Premier Division, and should be playing a lot higher in Neil Baker’s eyes. But the Rebels’ boss will be looking to put one over the Southern League’s big-hitters when they arrive at Arbour Park this afternoon (Saturday).
The Rebels will be looking to slash the nine-point gap Hereford have opened above them in the table, and Baker is hopeful they can take advantage of their impressive home form at Arbour Park to pick up what would be three very welcome points.
The game, an all-ticket affair on police advice, promises to be a heavyweight clash between two of the favourites to lift the title. Both are looking to win their games in hand and get back in among the front runners at the top of the table.
The Rebels nicked a 1-0 win over The Bulls in the first week of the season, but Baker says they’ve improved since then and now look like the team to beat for any side that hopes to win the title.
Until their recent FA Cup exit to Rochdale, Slough were in title-winning form, and Baker says they’ll have to get back on another winning run in the league if they’re to see off the challenge from the likes of Kettering and Hereford to gain promotion to the National League.
Late goals have proved costly in recent months, with the side having thrown away four points from their matches at Banbury and Chesham. However, the game represents an excellent opportunity to get their promotion bid back on track.
He said: “Hereford are a massive club. They’re going to be bringing 700 supporters, which just shows you the size of the club.
“It’s League 1/Championship level support, and that’s what we’re up against. It gives them the financial clout to go with it.
“They have the finances to get out of this league because they really should be playing in the National League or higher.”
In their last match at Arbour Park the Rebels hammered Farnborough 5-1, and just three sides – including League 1 Rochdale – have got the better of them on their own patch.
“It’s going to be very, very difficult to topple Hereford, but we’ll do what we can,” said Baker.
“We’ve been strong at home. I think we’ve lost two league games and the FA Cup tie to Rochdale. That’s three games in six months.
“We’ve been good at home, but we’re going to have to be. We’ve watched them and they’re a better side than when we beat them at their place earlier in the season.
“We caught them at a good time and they’ve brought in a few new players since then. To challenge to be winning the league we can’t afford to drop too many points. But at the same time, if we were to win our games, we’d only be three points worse off than Hereford.
“We have to win our games in hand, but you’re always playing catch-up and that’s tough from a mental point of view. Every time you drop points and they don’t it becomes harder. But we’ve now gone three games unbeaten and want to get back on a winning run.”
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