Only way is up for Stags

AFC TOTTON are carrying the weight of the entire Southern Premier Division on their shoulders heading into a vital double header against Hungerford Town.

The Stags slipped bottom of the table on goal difference behind local rivals Bashley on Tuesday after the New Forest side had beaten Chippenham 3-1 – spearheaded by a brace from ex-Stags youth player Jack Odam.

That blow will make Steve Riley’s men doubly determined to get some points on the board over the next four days with tomorrow’s trip to Hungerford followed by a home match against the Berkshire side at the Testwood Stadium on Tuesday.

Even before the Chippenham win, Bashley co-manager Paul Gazzard said he believed his new-look side would finish above Totton and third-to-bottom Bedford this term, putting them in pole position to gain a reprieve from relegation should another side drop out of the league.

Riley, on the other hand, is still targeting fourth-to-bottom safety for his improving young Stags and believes the addition of midfielder Liam Gilbert from Horndean and AFC Bournemouth loan duo Harrison Gilkes and Lewis Lindsay will be beneficial.

He said: “It’s good to have selection headaches, something we haven’t had much of of late.

“If anyone is carrying a slight knock, we can rest these players, which is a luxury we haven’t had recently.

“The team is feeling positive and it’s a good place to be.”

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