Battle for survival, Barnet vs Hereford preview

Posted on March 10, 2011

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Some sports commentators may be ready to write off Barnet’s chances of survival in league two this season. But a bullish Paul Fairclough is in no mood to give in just yet.

Stuart Fleetwood, identified as a threat to Barnet. (image obtained from herefordunitedfc.com)

After mid-week disappointment at Wycombe on Tuesday night, Barnet travel to Hereford for what is likely to be a testing encounter.

The Barnet manager maintains faith in his side, and in their continued improvement as a team.

“There is no doubt that the pessimists out there have ruled us out. The realists probably think it’s too late for us too.”

“The players and I are optimists and we believe we can do it, we can avoid relegation.”

“The run-in will be a test of character, or nerves. Teams around us will not have an easy time either.”

“I believe that this is a good team now. If we were to start the season again with the team we have now then I think we would comfortably finish mid-table.”

“Joe Devera and Anwar Uddin are amongst the best centre-backs in the league now. We’ve got Mark Byrne, who is the type of player I want in this team. Mark Hughes is also a warrior in there.”

Outstanding performance

Fairclough’s frustration at good performances lacking the results to match is obvious. He believes that defeat on Tuesday was cruel and in part due to the outstanding performance of one Wycombe player.

“Their keeper was fantastic, he had a great game. He made a great save against McLeod, he made another one point blank from four yards out which he probably didn’t know too much about. Joe Devera hit the bar as well.”

“The first 45 mins against Wycombe for me was as good as the performance against Lincoln, without the goals.”

Goals win games

He knows what to expect from Hereford keeper Adam Bartlett having coached him during his time at England C, and has asked his team to increase their shot tally to force him into saves.

“Most keepers these days will be able to save a direct shot at goal. Goals happen when the keeper makes a mistake, the ball is seen late, or takes a wicked deflection on the way.”

“Our midfield needs to start wading in with shots, with goals. If you don’t take shots at keepers then you don’t ask questions of them.”

Hereford’s threat

“Their two front men in Fleetwood and Fairhurst are very quick and dangerous, always looking to drop off the shoulder of defenders.”

“They’ve got big men for set plays in Kovacs and Townsend. So we’ll be looking out for them.”

“We’ve identified some weaknesses in their team too, but I’ll keep that under wraps for now.”

“Every game is tightly contested in league two. We’ve had two tough games against opponants in the top three and we’ve shown that we can compete with them.”

“Hereford will be a tough nut to crack, but if we put in the same performance as we did against Wycombe then I am confident we will win.”

Injury crisis

While the Bees boss is certainly not lacking in spirit and determination going into this game, he is facing a squad selection problem with several players picking up injuries.

Anwar Uddin has suffered a ligament injury which will see him out of action for some time. Steve Kabba will also need to sit out for a few weeks at least.

Glen Southam may return to training next week, whilst there are promising signs that Daniel Leach is continuing to recover well, having re-joined training this week. Darren Dennehy however will need another week at a rehab centre.

There is some good news though, in Dunleavy and Pulis returning to contention for the game this Saturday.

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Posted in: Sports