Jay taking nothing for granted at Stowmarket
TOP of the league at Christmas, unbeaten in more than two months and winning their last match by a record-breaking 13-0.
Things are pretty sweet at Stowmarket as they enter the second half of the Ridgeons League Division One - just don’t tell manager Steve Jay.
Ever the pragmatist, the popular manager has banned all talk of promotion, preferring to point out that just six points separates the top five.
And all Town’s hard work leading up to the new year could be hit unless they overcome local rivals - and fellow promotion chasers - Ipswich Wanderers in Monday’s pick of the Division One games.
Jay is right to remain grounded even if Stowmarket are the league’s highest scorers, scoring three or more goals in nine games this season, topped by a baker’s dozen against woeful Cornard United in their last Ridgeons match.
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The Town boss said: “We set ourselves targets at the start of the season but promotion was not talked about. The season has gone pretty well so far but we are just looking to put as many points on the board as possible. We still don’t talk about promotion.”
While Jay might not mention the possibility of Premier League football next season, Town are well placed for a promotion push with Cambridge University Press, Diss Town, Whitton United and Wanderers in hot pursuit.
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It all makes for a fantastic second half to the season and Jay believes the race for the title proves how competitive Division One is.
Speaking just a few weeks after concerns were voiced about the viability of the second-tier Ridgeons league, Jay said: “The league is very tight and that shows how strong it is.
“Even when you are playing the teams down the bottom, you still have to go there and treat them with respect or you will get beat. There are good teams down there at the moment like Long Melford who have some very good players.”
As part of their excellent recent run, Stowmarket beat Ipswich Wanderers 3-1 at home in November but Jay was quick to insist that the victory would have no bearing on Monday’s match at Humber Doucy Lane. He said: “They might have some changes in personnel and they always have good players. We are expecting a tough game in front of, hopefully, a big crowd.”