Crunch time for the Bucks

TWO defeats in three days caused a huge upset this week for promotion-chasing Buxton FC but manager John Reed remains confident his side are capable of reaching the all important play-offs.

This weekend is crunch time for the Bucks as they face their final two games of the season, against Nantwich and Matlock Town, ideally needing to win them both to guarantee a play-off spot. And despite suffering two heavy defeats in their last two league matches, against Worksop Town and Northwich Victoria, Reed says he and the team remain positive they won’t miss out.

“If all the players are at their absolute top levels and play well like they have been doing this season right from the word go then I am confident we will still be in the play-offs,” he said.

“The players are fired up. They were knocked by the two defeats and they are mad with themselves. A lot was said after the Northwich game on Monday and when players are shouting and getting upset with themselves and each other that is great for a football club because it shows they care.

“If our dressing room is spot on, if everybody is playing to their own individual levels and we are playing well as a team, then why can’t we get six points against Nantwich and Matlock? It won’t be easy, we know that, but we are more than capable of doing it.

“At the start of the season I said we’d like to have a good cup run and that if we could finish in the top ten we’d be over the moon. We got to the FA Cup fourth qualifying round, we reached the final of the Derbyshire Senior Cup and we are currently in fifth so even if we finish in the top six or seven we’ll have achieved that. We’ll be a bit disappointed though because we’ve been in the play-offs for about four or five weeks now.

“People on the touchline have made comments but what they don’t really understand is that what hasn’t helped us is losing Matt Heywood. We lost only once in nine games when he was playing so he has been a colossal loss for us. We lost Scott Maxfield for five games, Michael Towey is waiting for a knee operation, Neil Stevens has been carrying a knock for three or four weeks and Gregg Anderson has a sore ankle so we’re like the walking wounded. Injuries haven’t helped us at all especially because we’ve only got a small squad.”

But there was a positive note to come from Monday night’s game at Northwich as Mark Reed’s goal made him the club’s all-time top scorer, and the manager was delighted for his popular striker.

“It couldn’t have happened to a nicer lad,” he commented. “He is an absolute pleasure to work with. He is great in the dressing room, he’s a lovely lad, very talented and I felt so proud when he scored to break the record.

“When he left us for Vauxhall Motors I said to him that there was always a place for him with Buxton and when he came back it felt like a son coming home. He has got to be so loved at this club, he is very popular and I’m delighted for him.”