BROWNE ON THE BALL: It’s do or die as Boston United face 13 games in 50 days

Jordan Keane celebrates scoring against York.
Jordan Keane celebrates scoring against York.

What a difference one result makes.

Going into the home clash with struggling Leamington the Jakemans Stadium was full of expectations, there was talk of making it 10 games unbeaten and a late charge into the play-off spots.

But one defeat and a handful of postponements later and Boston United’s mission has changed completely.

This week manager Craig Elliott wasn’t looking up, but down.

He discussed the importance of ensuring his Pilgrims don’t get sucked back down into the National League North’s relegation battle after these blank weeks have seen rivals pick up points, leaving Boston just five points above the bottom three.

Of course, United have games in hand to help ease their way back up into the top half and away from danger, but it won’t be an easy task.

Playing 13 matches in 50 days won’t be fun, there will be injuries and suspensions to deal with, as well as necessary squad rotation.

And then there’s also the calibre of opposition to contend with.

From the 13 remaining matches, 10 are against top 11 sides (Blyth Spartans the exception), with all of those rivals fighting for promotion.

The remaining three contests are against Darlington, a place behind but level on points, AFC Telford and FC United, who are both battling for safety.

While Elliott wants to ensure Boston can edge themselves away from the drop zone, he maintains faith in his squad, stating that these upcoming big games are his players’ chance to prove they have what it takes for a promotion push next season, especially as it’s coming to the time of year where managers begin working on their retained lists.

He also believes that the prospect of trips to York City and Stockport County - two of the Pilgrims’ former Football League rivals - in the space of four days should be something to relish, not fear.

United’s players go into these two crunch contests without a game in three weeks.

It’s up to them to show they are refreshed and not rusty, that they want to put that Leamington defeat behind them by picking up some important points.

It was against York that Elliott gained his first Boston win and began that nine-game unbeaten run.

Something similar and his side would certainly be on the verge of something special.