Leiston defender Joe Jefford says Blues aren’t giving up on Ryman Premier play-offs

Joe Jefford

Joe Jefford

Leiston defender Joe Jefford says the Blues are refusing to give up on reaching the Ryman Premier play-offs, despite losing their fourth consecutive away game on Tuesday night.

Richard Wilkins’ side were hit for four at Billericay Town – another dent in their quest to reach the end-of-season lottery – but remain just three points off the top-five.

The Blues, who have conceded a worrying 14 goals in their last four away games, go in search of home comforts this weekend with mid-table Wingate & Finchley the visitors and Jefford hopes the coastal club’s fortunes will change for the better.

“It’s been a tough week,” said centre-back Jefford.

“We went to Bognor Regis last Tuesday (Leiston lost 3-0) and our preparation wasn’t the best as we didn’t arrive there until 7.20pm, but we did not play well enough.

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“We then had a tough game at Hampton & Richmond (Leiston lost 4-3) and were 3-0 down by half-time. We then went 3-0 down at Billericay on Tuesday, so we are giving ourselves a mountain to climb.

“I can’t pinpoint what the problem is, but we are at home on Saturday and we will be looking to put things right. We haven’t become a bad team overnight.

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“We have a lot of experience and character in our squad, players won’t be prepared to say ‘that is our season over’.

“The players are fully focused, as is Wilks (Richard Wilkins) and we want to push on as we are still not far away from the play-offs.”

Leiston have lost seven games on the road this season, but remain in contention for the play-offs courtesy of a solid home record which has seen them win 11 of their 16 home matches this season.

The Blues will hope to make that 12 with a win at Victory Road on Saturday, but Jefford knows his side can’t afford to make another sluggish start.

“I don’t know whether it’s a first half thing at the moment, or whether the travelling aspect is affecting us – we do have to travel long distances, but we are not looking for excuses,” Jefford added.

“We understand as a squad where we are and we know we have not been good enough the last three games.

“But the way we are feeling at the moment we would probably take another game tomorrow.”

If Leiston do make the play-offs this season, then team spirit will have played a part – the players sticking together through a difficult spell.

“We are a tight-knit group and we got together after the game on Tuesday to iron out a few bits and bobs, and to discuss any concerns people might have,” revealed the former Lowestoft Town man.

“We are all thick-skinned and take any criticism on the chin. We have got the right mindset.

“It’s time for us to win ugly now. The last three games have been scrappy but things have not been dropping for us either.”

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