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Town looking to claim another top scalp
BASINGSTOKE Town manager Jason Bristow insists that the pressure remains on his side despite Tuesday night’s excellent win over Salisbury City.
That result moved Town seven points clear of the Blue Square Bet South relegation zone and within three points of the top 10.
However, Bristow denied that beating Salisbury took the pressure off Saturday’s trip to league leaders Welling United (kick-off 3pm).
“We go to Welling on Saturday and it’s going to be tough but it’s just as big as Tuesday’s game was,” he said. “We put pressure on ourselves to win every game.
“It was good to get a clean sheet on Tuesday and that should give us a bit of confidence – but it’s a game against a team who are top of the league. It will be difficult but we will do all we can to get the result.
“They will look to get in and around us and make things difficult but we have done well against teams near the top of the table, who look to get the ball down and pass.”
Thanks to Town’s win in Wiltshire, leaders Welling now boast the only unbeaten record in the division. They are clear favourites to claim the title, with a two-point lead over Salisbury and two games in hand.
They play an attractive brand of football, looking to get the ball down and pass – but Basingstoke ran them close when the sides met at the Camrose in late January. The Kent side won 1-0 but Town should have grabbed a point in the closing stages, Wes Daly missing a penalty.
“They will move the ball quickly and look to pass but we more than matched them at home and were unfortunate to lose the game,” Bristow said. “We would have been well worth a point had that penalty gone in so we will go there confident that we can live with them.”
Town will continue to be without first-choice centre-back pairing Ross Adams and Jay Gasson. Adams is waiting for the results of a scan on his ankle, while Gasson needs a scan to discover the severity of his knee problem.
David Ray and Robert Rice impressed as the centre-back partnership against Salisbury, helping Basingstoke to just their third clean sheet of the season – and they are likely to get the nod again on Saturday.
Bristow said: “Most people here remember David Ray as a midfielder or a right-back but he has been playing at centre-back for the last three or four years. Our centre-backs won more than their fair share in the air but we also made sure we picked up a lot of second balls.”
Matt Warner remains away on business, so Ben Jefford is expected to continue at left-back, while midfielder Jide Ogunbote could return to the squad after recovering from a virus.