By Paul Webster
Stocksbridge Park Steels boss Chris Hilton has conceded his sides play-off hopes are over following a 3-0 home reversal against Lincoln United on Tuesday evening.
It left Steels 10-points adrift of the top five with nine games to play ahead of this weekends trip to struggling Loughborough Dynamo.
“I think that’s it if I’m being honest you have to say realistically the play-offs are gone for us this season,” said Hilton.
“Its disappointing because our target this season was to finish in the play-offs. We’re good enough but for one reason or another it just has happened for us.
“The season isn’t over though its important we keep going and make sure we finish as high as possible in the top ten. Its something we’ll be making clear to the players, although in fairness to them they’re not the sort for giving up they want to go out and win football matches..”
The Steels boss admitted his was taken aback by the defeat against Lincoln. “I’m not sure where that came from, it certainly came out of the blue,” he said .
“We were excellent at Stamford last weekend and we expected to carry on against Lincoln. But we were just poor all-round, we were sloppy and our passing was awful I think every player had an off day.
“We have to put it behind us and make sure we come away from Loughborough with a win. If we play like we did when we played them at our place a couple of weeks ago and won 4-2 then we should win.
“We’ve picked up a few injuries Liam McFadyen is out with a hamstring as is Adam Hinchliffe. Josh Meade has a shoulder injury.
“Richard Stirrup had to come off against Lincoln with a hamstring and he wont play on Saturday, while Josh Meade is struggling with a shoulder injury. It might be a case of giving some of the younger players like Ben Rhodes and Josh Hobson a run in the side. We could also give Joe Lumsden a start after his couple of short substitute appearances as he gets over his injury.”
Loughborough have lost the last six on the spin and were well beaten 4-0 at leaders Shaw Lane AFC on Tuesday.