STEVE Riley wants to see his side competing like they did last Saturday from now until the end of the Calor Southern Premier campaign.
With 15 games to play, the Stags – away to Banbury United tomorrow – face a monumentally tough task to clamber to safety now that a yawning 19-point gap has opened up between them and fourth-to-bottom Chippenham Town, writes WENDY GEE.
But Riley was heartened by last Saturday’s 2-2 home draw with St Neots, when they twice came back from behind, and feels his young apprentices are gradually adjusting to the demands of Southern League football.
“The lads are developing well,” he said. “At certain stages this season we’ve fallen behind, had the wind taken out of our sails and the other team has kicked on and scored more.
“But we showed a bit of resilience and know-how against St Neots.
“We’ve got a lot of young boys still learning their trade, but it gives you a lift to see a performance like that. “We’ve got some tough games coming up, but we’ll have gained plenty of confidence from last week.”
With Nathaniel Sherborne back in action after a year and a half out injured, Riley believes the popular striker can be an asset to player development.
He said: “Some of the newer lads won’t realise the significance of Sherbs coming back but myself, Fez (assistant manager Chris Ferrett) and lads like Luke Roberts and Nathan Hurst will know what he’s gone through with his injuries.
“It will be good for youngsters to learn from Sherbs’ professionalism, his enthusiasm and the way he’s gone about his rehab.”
On Tuesday Totton face a basement battle at Riley’s old club Bashley, who announced this week that they stand on the brink of closure.
A stark statement issued by Bash chairman Mike Cranidge said: “Decisions are required very soon on our participation in the Southern League and FA Cups in season 2014/15.
“It is very apparent that, without executive level recruitment and guaranteed sponsorship/funding, we would be unable to meet the financial obligations required. “Bashley FC is a membership club run by the members and unable to raise or borrow money in the market and hence debt-free but cash poor.
“An EGM has been called on Thursday, March 13 to raise awareness of the situation and, if help is not forthcoming, to dissolve the club.”