Hall challenges his side to open up a 12-point gap at top

BOSS Tony Hall has challenged his Brantham Athletic side to open up a 12-point gap at the top of the Ridgeons League Premier Division by the end of this month.

Brantham have won seven league games in a row and are just two points behind new leaders Wroxham and one adrift of Dereham with games in hand on both their rivals.

Hall said: “If you look at the fixtures in November we have got seven games, and we could be 12 points clear by the end of the month if everything goes right, and that is what we are looking at.

“I have also said to the players not to tempt fate – in this league you can lose four or five games in a row and all of a sudden you are in the middle of the table.”

Although they have only completed just over a third of their fixtures, Brantham have emerged as serious title contenders – and with it the possibility of moving up to the Ryman League next season should they win the Premier Division.

Hall said: “I have put it to the committee and the chairman has seriously got to think about the future of the club and what we want to do. Come December or January time we will have to apply if we want to go up.”

Hall has strengthened his squad in recent weeks with the signings of midfielder Josh Capocci (Needham Market), striker Josh Mayhew (Woodbridge Town) and defender Alex Drennan (Stanway Rovers).

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He said: “We need 17 players to keep the momentum going. Not everyone is going to be happy, but everyone here realises our situation.

“We are on a good run and we have got to keep that going. Winter is coming up and players will pick up injuries and if I hadn’t signed these players we could have been down to 13 or 14 fit players and bringing in 17 and 18-year-olds.”

After being knocked out of the FA Cup at Haverhill Rovers in early September, Brantham lost interest in three cup competitions in the space of a fortnight – losing 1-0 at home to Mildenhall Town in the Suffolk Premier Cup, 1-0 at Diss Town in the FA Vase and then 2-1 at Hadleigh United in the Ridgeons League Cup.

But anyone thinking title-chasing Brantham would use their triple cup exit as an excuse to ‘concentrate on the league’ does not know Tony Hall.

“I was very, very disappointed to go out of the three cups in the space of two weeks, and I made my feelings known to the players,” he said.

Brantham tomorrow entertain Ely City, who have climbed to the dizzy heights of fourth on the back of a 12-match unbeaten run, in the match-of-the-day in the Premier Division.

Hall said: “I know nothing about them apart from when we played them last season, but they will be a strong, physical side which we will have to match.

“It will be another tough game, but I expect every game now to be difficult because other teams raise their game against the top teams, and we are now there to be shot down.”

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