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Barking boss Gardner says it's 'sink or swim' as his side face top of the table clashes

PUBLISHED: 13:29 23 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:29 23 January 2020

The ball eludes Joe Bruce and Dumebi GB-Dumaka (pic Terry Gilbert)

The ball eludes Joe Bruce and Dumebi GB-Dumaka (pic Terry Gilbert)

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Barking manager Justin Gardner insists it is 'sink or swim' for his squad as they face a tricky week in their bid to climb into the Isthmian League South Central play-off places.

Michael Dixon goes after the ball (pic Terry Gilbert)Michael Dixon goes after the ball (pic Terry Gilbert)

The Blues were due to take on Uxbridge last night (Tuesday) before making the trip to leaders Westfield on Saturday.

And boss Gardner knows it could be crucial to how their season pans out as they currently sit just outside the play-off spots despite an initially slow start to the season.

"It's a crucial week for us - in-form Uxbridge and then going to top of the league Westfield on Saturday," Gardner said.

"It's probably going to be a sink or swim situation, so let's hope we're swimming come Saturday night. But it's a tough week for us and we can't hide from that.

"It's a challenge, though, and one we should look forward to, as we've shown that we can rise to these challenges on many occasions, and it's another one where we have to try and come out on top."

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Former Aveley manager Gardner knows they can't afford to lose many games if they want to give themselves a chance of reaching the play-offs so they must step up to the challenge.

"We're in a situation where we can't afford to lose too many games if we want to have a successful season due to our poor start to the season," he added.

The Blues sealed a 2-0 win over Westfield earlier this season thanks to a brace from Junior Dadson but Gardner knows they will want to avenge that result.

"When we played them I think they were the only undefeated team in the league at the time," he said. "I think it was a mixed bag as we caught them on a good day for us in terms of them not being at their best as their front three is probably the best front three we've faced this season.

"We were also outstanding and we know we're going to have to be at our absolute best as they will want to avenge that result.

"They're in a really good position and sitting top of the league, so we go into it in a different situation.

"I will make no bones about it, it's going to be tough, it's a long journey for us as well. We're underdogs going into that game."

Jack Roult also announced his departure from the club late last week and posted a message which said: "I'd like to wish everyone at Barking all the best for the rest of the season. I've enjoyed every minute of it - now go on and push for that promotion!"

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