Barking boss aiming to go against odds and bag Bostik North play-off spot in 2018
PUBLISHED: 17:16 18 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:16 18 January 2018
In an article from our 'Year in Sport' pullout, the year ahead for Bostik North outfit Barking is put into perspective.
Barking will be hoping to continue their surprising surge in the Bostik North as they hunt down a play-off place in 2018.
The Blues won the Essex Senior League title last season to earn promotion into the Bostik League with the ambition of remaining in the North division.
But against the odds and the form books they have managed to stake a real claim to battle it out with the big boys.
Justin Gardner’s men are sitting just outside the play-off positions right now – despite a rocky start which was soon altered with a tremendous 10-game unbeaten run to help them climb the table.
The Mayesbrook Park outfit will need to hope results go their way down the stretch as most of their play-off rivals have games in hand on them.
But their remaining fixtures include tricky matches against the league’s top five teams in Hornchurch, Bowers & Pitsea, Dereham Town, Maldon & Tiptree and Canvey Island.
With only 17 matches left in the campaign they still have the opportunity to grab a maximum 51 points and will be hoping to pick up as many as possible as they look to make up ground on the teams ahead of them.
Barking host fellow play-off hopefuls Potters Bar Town on the final day of their league campaign on Saturday, April 24, which at this stage looks like it could be pivotal if the race does go down to the wire.
The east London-based club have no cup competitions to distract them or risk picking up injuries along the way.
It will still be dependent on whether they can keep their squad fit and get themselves back on track after capping off 2017 with a bad run and beginning this year with a mixed start.
Glen Golby and Steve Willis led the club to the Essex Senior League title last year and brought Gardner on board this term, before he took over as boss and appointed former Clapton assistant Andre Thomas as no.2.
They will now be hoping to keep their squad together and warn off any of the big-spending clubs across the division for their bright stars.
After a solid start to the campaign a lot of clubs will have their eyes on a handful of Barking players and be keen to see how they continue to progress.
Gardner is continuing to try to keep his men grounded with the aim of staying in the league, with anything else being an added bonus for the club’s ambitions.