Dec 27 2012 By Zhen-Kuang Goh
Tristan Lewis Image 2
HAYES and Yeading have written off their chances of automatic promotion and are instead focused on securing a play-off spot, admits assistant boss Tristan Lewis.
United were relegated from the Blue Square Premier last season after a high turnover of players resulted in them finishing in 21st place in the non-league top flight.
Boss Nas Bashir retained his position at the helm and spent the summer starting to assemble a squad capable of making an immediate return to the division.
The dead wood was cleared out at Kingfield and stalwarts like Tom Cadmore were retained to link up with a host of new names, such as Sam Cox and Kudus Oyenuga.
However, any new squad takes time to gel and Hayes & Yeading have had an inconsistent first half of the season. These mixed results mean United must now concentrate on ensuring they can break into the Blue Square South top five and pin their hopes on the play-offs.
Lewis is optimistic of promotion through the end-of-season lottery but has warned his boys against complacency.
“If you look at the Hornchurch game at home – they’re one of the teams on paper you’d say we should have beaten, but we lost that 3-1,” he said.
“The lads do seem to perform better against the perceived bigger sides but we’ve played a lot of the top seven already so we’ve got to prepare ourselves and prepare the team to compete with the teams at the wrong end of the table or that’s where we’re going to end up ourselves.
“What we always wanted to do was to be within touching distance of the play-offs at Christmas but we didn’t anticipate the run of form we’ve got. We’ve got to sort out the problems we’ve been having with second halfs.
“The target at the beginning of the season was to make the play-offs and although I don’t know how, we’re amazingly still only just outside the play-offs. It’s a race for fifth for us at the minute and being still in touch of the play-offs. It does suggest it’s achievable still.”