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Stamford AFC host Hitchin Town in the Southern League Premier Division Central





Manager Graham Drury is hoping his Stamford side can overcome the final hurdle of his targets in another memorable season for the Southern League club.

Stamford are on course for the highest-ever finish in the club's history in their first season back at step three of the non-league pyramid following last season's promotion.

They go into their final home league game of the season on Saturday still in with a chance of making the play-offs.

The Stamford players and management celebrate their victory at Kettering on Tuesday night. Photo: Rob O’Brien
The Stamford players and management celebrate their victory at Kettering on Tuesday night. Photo: Rob O’Brien

The Daniels host Hitchin Town at the Zeeco Stadium before travelling to Mickleover next weekend on the last day of the campaign.

Seventh-placed Stamford are just three points outside the play-off spots with Drury hoping his side can take it down to a final weekend shoot-out.

He explained: "I had some goals this season - the first of which was to stay up which never entered my head.

"I set a target to myself of 60 points which would be enough for top 10 and the next objective was about getting that highest-ever club finish to create more history and I'm proud of that achievement.

"I believe we've achieved above and beyond that and the final hurdle is about taking it to the last game of the season and then who knows.

"The excitement will be there if that happens and the fans will be buzzing for it."

Manager Graham Drury. Photo: Rob O'Brien
Manager Graham Drury. Photo: Rob O'Brien

Stamford kept their play-off hopes alive with a 2-1 midweek win at Kettering Town on Tuesday night.

It keeps the pressure on Stratford Town and Redditch United who are both battling with Stamford for a top five finish.

Drury added: "I've said to the boys about taking it down to the last game of the season and, whoever gets in it, let's make them really work for it so they know they've been in a race.

"If we win on Saturday then, no matter what, we take it into the last game of the season.

"They are really tough fixtures on the last day for every side and we've all got to win on Saturday as well.

"We're in a really tough battle because Hitchin are fighting for their lives. We have to do our jobs and not think about what is going on around us."

Jon Challinor after his winning goal on Tuesday night. Photo: Rob O'Brien
Jon Challinor after his winning goal on Tuesday night. Photo: Rob O'Brien

Stamford are currently three points adrift of both Stratford and Redditch with all of the teams having two games remaining.

The Daniels do have a far superior goal difference and Drury is hoping for a bumper crowd for Saturday's home finale.

It is the manager's birthday and the club are also holding their presentations after the match.

Drury said: "There are so many scenarios that could go on but we've got a job to do on Saturday first. All we can do is concentrate on ourselves.

"The win on Tuesday sets it up. It keeps our season alive and, whatever happens at the end of it, then I'm proud of the boys.

"I think we deserve a big crowd on Saturday for what the lads have done this season.

The Stamford fans are being urged to turn out in force again. Photo: Rob O'Brien
The Stamford fans are being urged to turn out in force again. Photo: Rob O'Brien

"We've got a lot of bodies missing at the moment and Michael Frew and Jon Challinor gave us a combined age of 81 down the left-hand side last week.

"We have used the squad and the likes of Florian Tsagium have travelled up and down the country with us and his attitude has been brilliant.

"His face was a picture after we won on Tuesday night. He has fitted in so well and he understands the bigger picture of his pre-season when he shows me what he can do.

"We have kept 23 players right until the end of the season which just shows the togetherness and what a group of players I've got in my dressing room.

"My priority has always been to make those four walls ours and we will stick together no matter what."



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