Brad Abbott believes that ‘playing without fear’ has been key to Boston United’s rise up the National League North table.
When the midfielder joined the Pilgrims from Buxton in December he arrived at a club second-bottom in the table.
But a nine-game unbeaten streak, finally ended by a 1-0 defeat to Leamington, saw United break into the top half of the table, where they are still planning on ending the campaign.
Abbott admitted that he didn’t expect Boston to climb so far so fast, but says that anyone arriving at the Jakemans Stadium now should come with belief that they are linking up with a squad that can match anyone in this division.
“I can’t quite believe it,” he said.
“But after being here, seeing the group of lads, the team spirit, I think anybody coming into this team can believe it now.
“The dressing room’s brilliant, we’ve got the team spirit.
“We have a laugh at the right times, but when it comes to game day and we know it’s business time, everybody’s pulling in the same direction.
“In terms of Craig, he helps massively with that.”
Manager Craig Elliott is a firm believer that if recruitment is right, then players don’t need to be handed over-complicated instructions.
And Abbott reckons that has been the secret of the side’s recent success.
“You have to go into games thinking ‘we’re not going to get beat’ and see where it takes you,” he continued.
“We go into every game wanting three points.
“I think how relaxed it is off the pitch is a massive plus.
“The gaffer doesn’t stand on the sidelines shouting and bawling because he gives us the messages before that, and then we go out and cary it out.
“If we need to be told we will be. That’s in every manager’s nature and it’s the correct thing.
“But how relaxed it is makes the lads play without fear on the pitch, which is a massive bonus.”
Abbott elaborated: “I think knowing that he has faith in us helps in terms of going out and playing.
“But he also knows that off the ball we’re all pulling in the same direction and we’ve all got each other’s back.
“We all look at it like ‘if he beats you, he’s not beating the next one of us’. That comes from team spirit.
“On the ball the manager wants us to express ourselves. That’s great because we know we’re entitled to make a mistake on the ball but, off the ball, that’s when mistakes can’t be made.”
Abbott has started all nine games since his arrival at Boston, scoring four times and only being substituted once in that sequence.
He has struck up a solid midfield partnership with fellow new signing Andi Thanoj, but he says it is the whole squad’s willingness to work together which has brought 22 points from the past 10 matches.
“There’s a massive togetherness,” Abbott told The Standard. “All the boys get on. There’s nobody who doesn’t.
“There’s no groups, we’re all as one and all getting on.”