Basingstoke Town boss Jason Bristow targets Hampshire Senior Cup success

Basingstoke Gazette: Shaun McAuley looks set to miss the Maidenhead game with a rib problem. Buy this photo Shaun McAuley looks set to miss the Maidenhead game with a rib problem.

BASINGSTOKE Town manager Jason Bristow wants to make sure that his side end the season with some silverware – by winning the Hampshire Senior Cup.

Bristow’s men travel to fellow Conference South side Gosport Borough in the semi-final of the competition on Tuesday night.

The game comes amid a busy and vital period for Town’s league campaign – but the Basingstoke boss is keen to guide his home town club to some trophy glory.

“We have said all season that we would try to win the competition,” he said. “We want a trophy and it’s a competition that I really value.

“Winning the Hampshire Cup is a good way to finish the season and repay the fans, because it will be played at Portsmouth’s Fratton Park, which would make for a great day out.”

Town are facing a run of five big games in the space of 11 days – a period that Bristow accepts could make or break their season.

The Camrose club host Maidenhead United in the Conference South on Saturday before travelling to Gosport on Tuesday.

It’s back to league action next Thursday, when their rearranged trip to Farnborough will take place, while they face the long journey to Dover Athletic next Saturday before hosting Eastbourne Borough the following Tuesday.

It’s a busy spell that could turn out to be vital.

Not only could Town secure themselves a place in the county cup final at Fratton Park, but they also face three of their rivals for a play-off place.

Bristow said: “The next week or so is going to be huge in terms of where we finish this season.

“We have five games in the space of 11 days, including a cup semi-final, and it could be a really good period that puts us in the mix or we could come out of it too far behind.”

Town go into this crucial run of games sitting 10th in the table, nine points outside the play-off places but with enough games in hand to give them a decent chance of competing for a place in the top five.

However, they are likely to need at least 34 points from their final 17 league games, a tough ask considering that the games will come thick and fast in the remaining weeks of the season.

“It is going to take a good run,” Bristow admitted. “At the start of the season you aim for two points a game and that is what we have got to do from now until the end of the season.”

First up for Town is a home game against Maidenhead United.

The Berkshire side are struggling near the foot of the table but won 3-0 away at Chelmsford City last weekend and gave title contenders Eastleigh a close match on Tuesday, leading twice before eventually going down 3-2 to an injury-time goal.

After that, Town travel to FA Trophy finalists Gosport Borough on Tuesday, looking to secure a place in the Hampshire Senior Cup final.

Bristow said: “We are treating the games as equally important but we believe we can make several changes and not weaken the side.

“We will see how Saturday goes, have a look at the players and judge our selection on an individual basis.”

One player unlikely to feature is Shaun McAuley, who took a bang to the ribs during the 1-0 win at Bath last weekend.

However, left-back Adam Green will return after serving a one-game suspension.

Visit basingstokegazette.co.uk/sport for live text coverage from both Saturday and Tuesday’s games.

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