08:00AM, Friday 13 September 2019
Neil Baker admits he couldn’t have contemplated the position Slough Town now find themselves in after the first three games of the season.
The injury-ravaged Rebels got off to a shocking start, losing their first three games against Dorking, Hungerford Town and Concord Rangers – the third of which Baker described as being ‘awful’.
But performances improved as players returned from the sidelines and they’ve since gone seven games unbeaten, winning four of them.
The latest of those victories came at Eastbourne Borough on Saturday, where Warren Harris and Dan Roberts scored to give the visitors a comfortable 2-0 win.
The result lifted the club to 11th in the table and within a point of the play-off places.
“It feels like we’re getting back to where we were at the end of last season when we went 10 games unbeaten,” said Baker.
“We’ve now gone seven games unbeaten and have picked up four wins and it’s put us back in a great position.
“It’s a position we couldn’t have contemplated after the first three games but now we’re back where we want to be and we’ve just got to try and be more consistent than everyone else.”
Joint manager Baker has a very simple explanation for the transformation in the club’s fortune this season.
“Injuries and unavailability,” he said. “Those injuries at the start of the season killed us and there was no way of glossing over that.
“We didn’t have a settled back four and it affected how strong we were as a side.
“Results started to improve when players started to come back in.
“But we’ve played some good sides in this run, sides you’d expect would be in the play-offs.
"The lads haven’t cracked it yet, they’ve got to keep working hard and moving the ball well and hopefully that (form) will continue on Saturday.”
One of those players to come back in was striker Dan Roberts, who had a hand in both of the goals on Saturday. He fired in the cross from which Warren Harris poked the Rebels in front before coolly taking the ball around the Borough keeper and sweeping home in the second half.
“It was one-way traffic on Saturday and a completely dominant display. Dan’s (Roberts) done really well and people forget that he’s only had one full season playing step five football,” said Baker.
“He had the best pre-season of all our forwards but was suspended for the first three games. Since then he’s played every game and done really well.
"He’s scored a few but also been involved in a few. He just needs to keep his feet on the ground, keep working hard, and if he does that I’m sure that people will start to watch him.”
Warren Harris won’t be involved in tomorrow’s (Saturday) home game against Hampton & Richmond Borough, due to a pre-arranged trip, while Francis Amartey was due to be loaned out to get some game time prior to this weekend’s clash.
Guy Hollis is the only other player set to miss out, his knee injury keeping him on the sidelines.
“Warren’s done really well for us and we trust him implicitly and have done for eight years,” said Baker.
“He gives you everything and more often than not he’ll get in the team. He’s unavailable this week which is a blow but hopefully we can do the business without him.
“However, Jon and I have never managed to beat a team managed by Gary (McCann). I think we’ve had four 1-1 draws. Sometimes you have that against a manager or a team. He’ll set his side up really well and they’re a young, hungry side, so we know it’s going to be tough.”
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