James Anderson insists Woodley United are ready for the fight as relegation battle heats up

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James Anderson and his Woodley plays have their eyes firmly on survival (Pics by Steve Smyth)

JAMES ANDERSON says Woodley have showed they are “really up for the fight” as the battle to avoid relegation heats up.

The Kestrels, enjoying their first season in the top flight, sit third bottom of the Hellenic Premier Division table having picked up draws against both Highmoor-Ibis and Abingdon United this week.

That ended a pre-Christmas run of six straight defeats and although Woodley are still winless in the league since October, Anderson says everyone remains fully focussed on the club’s goal – survival.

Haydon Richardson has scored two goals in two games

“We had some fairly frank chats over the Christmas period just about what was expected of us as a team and what was expected from the players for the remaining league fixtures of this year,” he told The Wokingham Paper.

“The lads certainly showed in the last two games that they’re really up for the fight and we’re not going to go away easily.

“I was really pleased with the character and desire that they showed to come back against Highmoor and to battle against Abingdon to get an important point.

“I think it just shows the commitment and the character that the players have, to keep battling and keep concentrating right until the end.”

He added: “30 points is still the goal.

“We’ve got 11 more to get with 11 games to go so we need to start converting some of these draws into wins but in terms of the performances, I’ve got no doubt that that will come.

“But the players need to go into every game with that fresh mentality of needing to get some points and continue to be ruthless in defence, as we have been all season, but also up top and make sure we convert the chances we get.”

Woodley’s squad has seen plenty of chopping and changing throughout the season and the latest man who helped them achieve promotion last year to now move on is Josh Drew.

The forward scored the winning goal in last year’s Berks and Bucks Intermediate Cup final

Danny Horscroft squandered some late opportunities against Abingdon

for the Kestrels, but he has now joined AFC Aldermaston in Division One East.

“We had a really nice chat before Christmas,” explained Anderson.

“He wants to get fitter so that he can play up in this league with us, but it just hasn’t been able to happen for him.

“I think the decision for him to go to Aldermaston was just somewhere he can go with a bit less pressure, get fit and play for them.

“We wish Josh all the best, he’s a really great guy off the pitch and on it he’s been brilliant for the club so nothing but good things to say about Josh.”

He added: “In truth, I think we’re really happy with the squad we’ve got.

“We’ve got some great players who are out injured who will be coming back.

“We’ve still got Greg Beckett to come back, Dave Morgan, who was so instrumental for us last season, he’s just about to return to full fitness. It will be really good to have him in, another winner, another character.

“If people do show up and they look like they might fit into our squad then we’ll certainly have a look. But I think the character and the temperament is as key as the ability.

“We’ve got a really good group who are really focussed on what we’ve got to do by the end of the season so hopefully we can keep them together.”

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