Play-offs are something for Hemel Hempstead Town to aim at

Mark Jones has backed his team to launch a late surge for a top-seven finish

By Jon Dunham
Thursday, 10th February 2022, 8:20 am
Updated Thursday, 10th February 2022, 8:22 am
Hemel Hempstead Town manager Mark Jones

Mark Jones believes the play-off places in the Vanarama National League South are something for his Hemel Hempstead Town team to aim for in the remainder of the campaign.

The Tudors moved to within four points of the top seven in the division after they came from a goal down to make it three wins in a row at Vauxhall Road with a 2-1 success over Billericay Town last weekend.

Second-half goals from Charlee Hughes, from the penalty spot, and Gus Scott-Morriss ensured Hemel bounced back following a 1-0 defeat at Eastbourne Borough.

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Jones is now looking forward to a tough trip to his former club Oxford City, who sit in third place, on Saturday and he has set a tough target for his team as they bid to turn themselves into play-off contenders.

“It was important we won that game on Saturday,” the Tudors boss said.

“If we want to stay in touch with that top seven, it was a game we really needed to win and I think the lads understood the importance of it.

“In my opinion, we deserved to win the game and it keeps us interested in the sixth and seventh places.

“We have got 15 games left and, realistically, we are going to need at least 10 or 11 wins out of those if we want to sneak into those play-offs.

“It’s a pretty hard task but it’s something we will keep going for and, to do it, we have to be bang on it every week.

“The boys are in a pretty good place.

“Our away record has been excellent and it will be nice for me, personally, to go back to Oxford.

“I think it’s the first time I have been back there since I left and it will be nice to go back and play against a very good team and see how we get on.”

The Tudors received a boost ahead of last weekend’s game after they struck a deal to sign forward Craig Fasanmade on a permanent deal from Wealdstone.

Hemel have paid an undisclosed fee for the player who spent time on loan at Vauxhall Road recently and Jones expressed his gratitude to chairman Dave Boggins for his backing.

“Craig is someone I know reasonably well for our time at Oxford,” the Tudors boss said.

“We had him on loan a couple of months ago and he did really well. I just felt that we could do with strengthening that forward line a little bit.

“He became available from Wealdstone but, as a contracted player, we had to negotiate a fee with them.

“The chairman Dave Boggins has supported me really well there and I thank him for that.

“I think Craig can give us some energy and pace. He’s a willing runner up there and he certainly helps us stretch defences.”