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United must 'buck ideas up' to stay in play-off contention

Ryan Upward. Photo: Darren Woolley

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Maidenhead United boss Alan Devonshire says his players need to ‘buck their ideas up’ as they head into the business end of the National League season seeking a place in the play-offs.

On Saturday, the Magpies let their standards slip in a narrow loss to 11th placed Altrincham, leaving the side in 13th place in the National League. However, with a number of games in hand over rivals for the top seven, Devonshire’s side can fight back into contention for promotion.

After Dover Athletic’s results were expunged last week following their decision not to continue with the season, Maidenhead have now played the fewest games (26) in the league this season. But should they not respond well to Saturday's defeat the side could start to lose ground on the play-off spots.

The Magpies travel to Weymouth on Friday hoping to come away with some points against one of the league’s strugglers, before welcoming fellow promotion hopefuls Eastleigh to York Road for a bank holiday Monday clash.

“We’re at a stage where we can really go for something if we perform well,” said Devonshire.

“We’ve got 16 games left to play in the last eight weeks and each one is crucial. They’re big games for us, and it’s good to be in that position where we’re playing for something.

“Yes, our games in hand are useful but I would rather we had points on the board.

“Going to Weymouth will be tough. They are in good form and have picked up some good points. They’ve also signed some new players. We lost there in the FA Trophy 3-2, so we know what to expect.

“Then, we will just have to see how the Eastleigh match goes.”

Devonshire is ‘keeping his fingers crossed’ he will have some of his more regular starters back for the coming fixtures as James Comley, Jerry Wiltshire and Rohan Ince were due to fly back from international duty on Tuesday evening.

“We’ve definitely missed them,” said Devonshire.

“They’re good players and we ain’t got the biggest squad in the world.

“We were on a bit of a roll with them but it didn’t excuse the poor showing against Altrincham.

“We weren’t good enough on the day and we’ve got to buck our ideas up between now and the end of the season.”

On the Magpies’ new additions, Alfie Egan and Rhys Lovett, Devonshire added: “They’re doing okay. Alfie (Egan) has probably found it the most difficult.

“He’s had one training session and I’ve chucked him in. He still doesn’t know how the boys play around him, so that’s something he will have to learn quickly.

“Rhys (Lovett) has settled in well as cover for Taye (Ashby-Hammond). We’re just looking forward to the rest of the season now.

“We’ve got a lot of games coming up, it just depends on the injuries we pick up and how we cope with them.”

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