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Baker says Slough Town will aim high despite being down the promotion pecking order

Slough Town will do all they can to push for another play-off finish this season, but Rebels boss Neil Baker said this week they’re putting no pressure on themselves to repeat last season’s feat.

Speaking after the club’s dramatic

2-1 win over Bath City, a result which lifted the club to ninth in the table, Baker said the club remained ambitious but reminded fans where they currently are in the pecking order for promotion.

The side have seven points from their first four matches thanks to Max Worsfold’s magnificent injury-time free-kick at Arbour Park on Saturday.

It had looked like the Rebels would be held to a second straight draw at home when Donovan Wilson cancelled out Cameron McGilp’s first strike for the club in the 86th minute. But, just as he did in the 4-4 draw against Welling United, Worsfold popped up with a crucial late goal when the Rebels needed it most.

This Saturday they host a Maidstone United side who sit third in the table and who obliterated Concord Rangers 6-0 at home last weekend.

“We won’t go over the top about it,” said Baker. “I thought we were very good on Saturday and we would have been very disappointed had we dropped points. We passed the ball and moved it around well, however, while we caused them problems, I don’t think we worked their keeper enough to be brutally honest.

“But we were the better side on the day and deserved the win. I was delighted for Max, who got the winner, and now we’ve just got to keep on pushing. I wouldn’t say that we improved dramatically from the FA Cup game (which Slough lost 1-0 to Bath City). What I would say is that we performed well for 90 minutes whereas in the cup game we were good for the first 45 minutes.

“Maidstone have started the season well. They’re a well-funded side who trains every day. They had a poor season by their standards last year and I know they’ll be looking to improve on that. But we’re looking forward to it. We’re three unbeaten at home and we want to make that four.”

Baker added that he’s reasonably satisfied with the start the side have made this season. They’ve got more points in the bag than at this stage of last season and he’s optimistic there’s more to come from this youthful Rebels’ squad.

“We’ve got to be reasonably pleased,” said Baker. “We’re six points better off than we were at this stage last year so we’re quite happy. To start the season with seven points from four games is a good return.

“We’re a lot younger as a side this season. Four or five of the players on Saturday were under the age of 22-23 so we’ve refreshed things a little bit and I’m pleased with how we played. We’ve still got plenty of experience in the squad, but we’ve got the likes of Aaron (Kuhl) and Cam (McGilp) who are younger and maybe not as experienced in the National League South. But they’re still good players so I don’t see it being much of an issue. We’ve just got to try and be as consistent as we can, but it will be difficult, and I think there may be some stops and starts this season with games being called off because of illness which we’ve never had before. We may need to cram in games at the back end of the season to try and get it finished.”

Despite finishing in the play-off places last season Baker is under no illusions as to how tough it will be for the Rebels to repeat that this season, given the financial constraints brought about by COVID-19.

They’ll aim high once more and believe they can get there but several financially strong, big-hitting sides stand in their way.

“Yes, we got into the play-offs last year, but under no stretch of the imagination are we under any pressure to get back into the play-offs again this season,” he said. “That’s obviously the ambition but there are some big sides, and sides that are playing big money in our league. We’re not one of those sides and we have to be conscious of where we are as a club. That doesn’t mean we’re not ambitious. We’ll always want to get up that table.

“The money we pay out is what we get from people coming through the gate and from sponsorship. We haven’t got someone propping us up like other clubs. We will always be competitive, and we will always try to push for the next level because if you do get up there (to the National League Premier) crowds increase and turnover increases and things like that. While we don’t have a money man, we’ll try to give it a go. That’s our ambition as managers and as a club but we also know where we stand in the pecking order.”

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