By Mark Dunford
One final push. That’s the message from Burgess Hill Town general manager John Rattle as the Hillians face Merstham on Saturday, knowing a win is the only option. And Rattle wants a bumper crowd to help Ian Chapman’s side fight the drop.
After a draw with Worthing on Easter Monday, the Hillians have to win and rely on one of Folkestone, Hendon, Met Police and Harrow Borough dropping points. There was a crowd of 549 at the Green Elephants Stadium on Saturday, and Rattle wants to see that again this week. He said: “The support this year has been fantastic.
“We have averaged more than 350 crowds all season and we will need another bumper crowd on Saturday to help us get over the line and remain in the Ryman Premier League which has always been our aim.
“If we could have another 500+ crowd on Saturday it would be fantastic to give us one final push.”
It was always going to be a battle for Burgess Hill this season and how tough the league is evident by how tight it is at the bottom.
Rattle said: “It’s never going to be easy in this league. We know where we are as a club when it comes to budgets, compared to other clubs. But at the same time, it’s so critical for our plans going forward that we stay in this league.
“We are working closely with the council to resolve the lease issue and to be in a national league is critical to our progress off the field.
“We’ve got plans with our partnership with PACA, hopefully, and it’s yet to be confirmed, we will have an U19 academy team playing at a high level so it’s a great opportunity for youngsters coming into the club. This all works while we are in this league. We’ve had some good conversations with Mid Sussex District Council in relation to getting a longer lease at the ground. And there are other things we are discussing with them which will make it easier for us to compete at this level going forward.”
Hillians boss Ian Chapman believes his side will be very unlucky to go down if they win on Saturday and achieve 54 points.
He said: “Obviously it’s out of hands as such now, but the good thing is there are four teams we can still catch, so they have all got to win.
“We have just got to win our game and if we get 54 points I do believe we will be very unlucky to go down.
“I have been in football a long time and it’s probably been the most frustrating season with that side of things. Towards the end, we have played alright. We’ve got a result at Harrow, we won at Harlow and today we have got a result but teams have still won.
“I am down but we are not out. All we can do is win our game Saturday and hope we a bit of luck, which I don’t think we have had at times this season.”
“It would great to get one of the biggest crowds we could have to drive us on to get a win and give us the best chance of staying up.”
Apart from Leon Redwood (unavailable), Chapman hopes to have a full squad to pick from.