10:30AM, Thursday 19 December 2019
Paul Shone (centre) pictured winning the Hellenic League Division 1 East title last season
Paul Shone’s Christmas wish is for Burnham to break into the Hellenic Premier Division’s top four in the new year.
The Blues currently sit eighth, but have been higher, and have been steadily climbing the table after recovering from what Shone admitted was a shaky start to the campaign.
Burnham had hoped and expected to hit the ground running following their promotion from Hellenic League Division 1 East last year, but the opposite happened as they waded through four painful defeats in five during August.
At that point Shone admits he had to readjust his aims, but he’s now confident he can return to his original blueprint for the season by targeting a top four finish. Leaders Westfields, and to a degree Fairford Town, have gotten away from the chasing pack in the race for the title, but Shone sees no reason why the Blues can’t chase down Shrivenham in third.
“We had to readjust our target after the poor start we had,” he said.
“But if we can maintain the results of late then there’s no reason why we can’t compete in the top four.
“We know we can compete and challenge up there because we’ve been in most games.
“If we can stick a run together and maintain that for the second half of the season then, like I say, there’s no reason we can’t aim for those positions.”
The Blues had been due to play a third successive away fixture on Saturday with the fixture list throwing up a trip to Brimscombe & Thrupp, and the team were in fine fettle after picking up six points from wins over Fairford Town and Brackley Town Saints. But torrential rain saw the game postponed and their momentum interupted. Now Shone is determined not to let the postponement drown out the optimism that’s floating around the club at the moment. The Blues are set to host bottom of the table Holmer Green on Saturday before visiting Flackwell Heath on Boxing Day.
“Last weekend was disappointing especially on the back of the two wins we had against Fairford and Brackley,” he said.
“To go there and pick up maximum points was pleasing and to go away and potentially pick up another three points would’ve given us a boost going into Holmer Green (on Saturday) and Flackwell (on Boxing Day).
“On Boxing Day, it’s a local derby. There is lots riding on the match and something that will set up a Christmas cracker.
“We’re looking forward to it but the game against Holmer Green will be one we take care of first.”
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