Little Common boss: We showed right qualities for relegation fight

Little Common player-manager Russell Eldridge
Little Common player-manager Russell Eldridge

Little Common player-manager Russell Eldridge accepts the football club is in a relegation battle, but believes it showed the required qualities in its Boxing Day draw.

The Commoners picked up their first Southern Combination League Premier Division point since November 10 with a goalless draw at home to Langney Wanderers.

Eldridge said: “We’re in a bit of a relegation fight, and we need to show that character, desire and fighting spirit - and to be fair we showed that. If we do that, hopefully the results will come again.”

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At the midway stage in their league programme, Common lie 16th in the 20-team division. Only six points cover the teams from 14th to 19th.

“I think it’s going to be an interesting second half of the season,” Eldridge added. “We want to pick up points as quickly as possible.”

Common will travel to AFC Uckfield Town in their final fixture of 2018 tomorrow (Saturday).

Uckfield are just below halfway in the league, albeit having played fewer matches than anybody else in the division, but got through three rounds in the FA Cup before losing to National League South outfit Dartford and are still going in the FA Vase having come through five rounds.

“We can expect a tough battle against Uckfield,” Eldridge added. “They’ve had an inconsistent season in terms of their league results, but their cup results have been excellent.

“It’s going to be a very, very tough game there. The pitch is probably going to be heavy and we know it’s going to be a battle; it’s not going to be a free-flowing game.

“We’re going to have to win our individual battles and hopefully we’ll come away with something. We have to make sure we make teams work as hard as we can.”

Eldridge expects to field a similar squad to the Langney game, although one or two players who missed that match, such as Panashe Makwiramiti, may be added to it.

Among the players Eldridge singled out for praise against Langney was Ollie Weeks, another young Hastings United prospect like James Pool and Makwiramiti who has dual registered with Common.

“He’ll be with us for the foreseeable,” said Eldridge. “It was a steady performance. He defended well and looked decent on the ball. Hopefully he will be an asset to us.

“The youngsters bring legs and energy to the group, and it’s invaluable experience for them.”