Craig Fleming hopes it’s third time lucky for play-off bound Lowestoft Town
- Credit: James Bass
Lowestoft Town director of football Craig Fleming hopes fortune will favour the brave in the Blues' forthcoming play-off campaign.
The Trawlerboys' 3-2 defeat at Wingate & Finchley has taken the fight for second spot, and home advantage in the play-offs, to the final match of the season today.
Fleming's men will be looking to make it third time lucky in their pursuit of Conference football and they would go into the play-offs as favourites if they beat Hendon at Crown Meadow this afternoon (kick-off 3pm) and seal the runners-up spot.
The hurt from defeats against Tonbridge Angels and AFC Hornchurch in the last two play-off finals still runs deep but, after a campaign which was undermined by a series of postponements at the start of the year, Fleming hopes the Blues are due a bit of luck.
'A lot gets said about having momentum in the play-offs but having played in them and now managed in them I would say that luck plays a far more important part,' said the former Norwich City defender, whose side are in a three-way fight for second place with Wealdstone and Concord Rangers.
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'You can go into the play-offs on the back of six straight wins but it counts for nothing after that. The play-offs are a lottery and hopefully after the last couple of years we are due a bit of luck in it.
'We just hope we get what we feel we deserve. On the two previous occasions we have lost out to late goals. The one at Hornchurch last year still hurts because we feel we should have had a free kick on Adam Smith in the build-up to the winner.'
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Fleming feels second spot is the least his side deserve after enduring a gruelling fixture schedule which will have seen the Blues play 11 times in April alone.
Whitehawk were confirmed as champions last Tuesday after Lowestoft were held by Wealdstone and, despite the fixture backlog his side have had to clear, Fleming still feels they could have been closer to the Sussex side.
'The frustrating part has been that the points we have dropped have been against the bottom teams – we would be taking it into the last weekend if we hadn't slipped up against them,' said Fleming, with recent defeats at home to lowly Thurrock and Carshalton fresh in the mind.
'Having said that I think the lads can be really proud of themselves for what they have achieved so far. The postponements gave us one hell of a mountain to climb and I can't fault the effort of the boys for the way they have stuck in there at the top.'
Fleming called on the club's supporters to give their all on the terraces ahead of their play-off semi-final next week to help give his squad the final push they need to get over the line.
'We need them to get behind us – I think they have been a bit quiet in recent games there but we really want to hear them in our coming games there,' he said. 'When they are in full voice they can really push us on. We will give it everything to reach where we want to be and we need them to give us everything in the stands.'
Curtley Williams, who was rushed to A&E on Thursday after suffering an allergic reaction during the Blues' defeat at Wingate, could come into consideration for today's clash after the swelling on his face subsided.
Sam Gaughran is a major doubt after limping off on Thursday meaning Scott Mitchell, who has only just returned from a groin problem, could line up at centre back.