High-flying Common focusing solely on next game

Little Common player-manager Russell Eldridge closes down a Langney Wanderers opponent last weekend. Picture courtesy Jon Smalldon
Little Common player-manager Russell Eldridge closes down a Langney Wanderers opponent last weekend. Picture courtesy Jon Smalldon
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Little Common Football Club heads into its final eight games of the season with a chance of winning the league and, failing that, securing one of the three promotion places.

But player-manager Russell Eldridge isn’t thinking about either and is instead focusing solely on Common’s next Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One fixture.

Hat-trick hero Wes Tate on the ball in the 7-1 thrashing of Langney. Picture courtesy Jon Smalldon

Hat-trick hero Wes Tate on the ball in the 7-1 thrashing of Langney. Picture courtesy Jon Smalldon

He said: “Our focus is on the next game, which is East Preston in two weeks’ time. I won’t get drawn into a position or number of where we’re going to finish.

“We’ve had a fantastic season so far. We’ve got eight games left, 24 points to play for, and we’ll do our very best to gain as many points as we possibly can. Where we come will be where we deserve to be.”

Last weekend’s tremendous 7-1 win at home to Langney Wanderers has kept Common third in the table - three points behind leaders Saltdean United, but with a superior goal difference.

With the top four covered by just three points and the team in fifth only three points further back, it’s very much all to play for during the final two-and-a-bit months of the campaign.

“I think it’s going to be exciting,” continued Eldridge. “It’s a funny old league and I’m sure there’s a few more shocks to be had yet. We’ll just keep focusing on ourselves and hopefully we’ll have a positive outcome at the end.”

Common are without a fixture this weekend and their next game is a big one at home to second-placed East Preston on Saturday February 25.

“With the amount of games that have been played, I guess there’s going to be some weeks where we’re going to have no game,” Eldridge went on. “It’s one of those things. Ultimately, when the next game comes along, we’ll be ready for that.

Common have further bolstered their squad by signing young midfielder Bradley Pritchard on a dual registration basis with Hastings United.

“When I bring players in, it’s not to replace anyone; it’s to add numbers, quality and competition for places,” added Eldridge.

Bexhill United might not be in the hunt for the leading places themselves, but they could have a say in who finishes where.

Four of Bexhill’s remaining six games are against teams in the top five and they could do Common a favour if they pick up points away to fifth-placed Steyning Town tomorrow.

Seventh-placed Bexhill were beaten 6-1 in September’s reverse fixture and joint manager Ryan Light is naturally hoping for a far better outcome on Steyning’s artificial 3G pitch tomorrow.

He said: “That was a strange game when we played them before. Without scoring goals, we played very well that day.

“I think the pitch will suit our younger players because they’ve been brought up on it and going on the game against Langney Wanderers (at Eastbourne Borough’s 3G surface last month) I thought we played very well.

“We’re looking forward to it, we’ll do our best and see what we can pick up.”

Drew Greenall and Nathan Lopez are expected to return, but Georges Gouet is away, Ashley Kidman is probably out with a knock and goalkeeper Dan Rose is still a week or two from fitness with a knee injury.

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