‘It’s pointless having target’
Haylock says United are just trying to win all games FOOTBALL
United let a two-goal lead slip at Oxford City on Saturday to leave them languishing in what is a very tight National League South drop zone as the season nears its climax.
Only Basingstoke at the foot of the table seem doomed, with second-bottom St Albans right behind Haylock’s men and were due to play their game in hand last night (Tuesday).
United now have three games to save their skin, starting at home to Concord Rangers this weekend, but as far as Haylock is concerned, what will be will be.
He said: “I never get caught up in setting targets, there’s no point in it.
“I could sit here and say we need this many wins and this many points, but it could all change with the next set of fixtures.
“It’s tough enough as it is, why worry? We will just try to win all our games and see where it takes us.
“We will probably need to win all our games now, but so could other teams.
“I will put some pressure on the players and try to get a reaction. I’ve tried to take the pressure off them, but now it’s time to ram it down their throats.
“I was relegated as a player and it’s not a nice feeling.
“We need to step it up, especially as we’ll be moving into the new stadium next season, and it would be good to do so as a Conference South club.
“It’s a fabulous facility and I can’t wait to be playing there.
“The sooner the better and then we can start building this club again. We just need to get over the line on and off the pitch.”
At half time last S a t u r d a y, Un ited looked destined to escape the drop zone, after going 2-0 up at Oxford City thanks to an own goal and an Elliot t Benyon strike.
But two o second half goals from the hosts earned them a share of the spoils and denied Haylock’s men what would have been a crucial three points.
The draw did at least end a three-game losing streak for United, who also play relegation rivals Bath City at home on Saturday week before finish- ing their campaign at Gosport Borough.
Elsewhere, Uxbridge enjoyed a terrific 2-0 home win over Bedford Town in the Southern League Division One Central. Northwood were beaten 4-2 by Leighton Town. AFC Hayes were beaten 2-1 at Chessington & Hook United in the Combined Counties Premier Division. TOM Helm has been tipped by Middlesex and England cricketer Steven Finn to reach the top.
The 21-year-old (pictured) made his debut for the county last summer before suffering a stress fracture that ended his season before it really began.
And he has been touted as the most talented young bowler that Finn, who has 113 Test wickets in his career so far, has seen.
He said: “Tom Helm, in my opinion, is the most talented young bowler I’ve ever seen. I don’t want to pump his tyres up too much as he’s got a lot of learning to do still.
“He’s got something different and special. You watch him bowl and you think it’s beautiful. It’s easy, it’s quick and it’s swinging both ways at will.
“If he can stay injury free, he’ll be a very good player in the future for Middlesex and hopefully higher than that.”
Helm, naturally, was flattered by Finn’s praise, joking that he once wanted the England international to sign his shirt despite wearing the same kit, but his first focus is to prove his fitness now his injury troubles are hopefully behind him.
“I started bowling again on Monday after I had a setback at the Oval two weeks ago,” he said.
“I haven’t bowled much over the last year but the drills I’ve done have me in a good place. I’ll be ready to rock and roll when I get the chance.
He added: “First off, I want to stay on the pitch all season. I want to do the right things in taking wickets for the second team and get back in the squad.
“I don’t expect to jump straight into the first team. I need to prove I’m fit and do the right thing.”
Helm has also enjoyed working with director of cricket Angus Fraser and bowling coach Richard Johnson.
He said: “Gus is always there with open ears and will give advice if you ask him. He’s fantastic to have about. You can only look up to him.
“Richard’s got a great crop of seam bowlers but we’re blessed to have the coaches we have and, for me, in particular Jonno. He’s as good a bowling coach as there is out there. It’s great for us.”
Competition for places is fierce with Finn, Toby Roland-Jones, James Harris and Tim Murtagh all battling Helm for a place in the side.
The 21-year-old said: “There’s a lot of competition for places. They’re the guys you’re up against. Once you do get there, you know the work you’ve put in. It’s a challenge, but there’s a great reward.”
n TOUGH TIME: (Above) Hayes & Yeading could still climb to safety this season, says Garry Haylock (below)