Andy Scott says his team are embroiled in a six-team mini league - but only when the rain eventually stops
Andy Scott is bracing himself for a six-team mini league shoot-out as Aldershot Town look to battle through the wet weather to secure their survival in the Conference Premier.
Like many of their rivals, the Shots have seen their progress slowed by the dreadful conditions in recent weeks, culminating in the postponement of Saturday’s showdown with Chester.
And now with eight games due to play in March and only one free Tuesday night left in the season, Scott knows the defining moment of the season is fast approaching.
“There’s a lot to play for and not a lot of time left,” the Shots boss said. “We’ve got some absolutely huge games coming up.
“This weather has been unbelievable, I’ve never known anything like it. But there’s nothing you can do about it and although the games are coming thick and fast there are clubs like Braintree who are looking into scheduling Thursday night games so we’re by no means in the worst position.
“The aim though is simple: We’ve got all of the bottom six to play and if we win those games, we survive.
“Woking and Lincoln are catchable but until we can start playing games and picking up points then it’s all a bit fragmented.”
First up for Scott, though, is a tough trip to a team riding high at the other end of the table – the division’s surprise package, Alfreton Town.
The rampant Reds currently lie third in the Skrill Premier table and earned rave reviews from Scott after their impressive 1-0 defeat at title-chasers Cambridge United on Tuesday night.
“They’re a good side,” Scott warned. “They beat us up at our place earlier in the season and they were very impressive on Tuesday night and full value for their win.
“They are well-organised, work very hard for each other and we know it’s going to be very tough.
“We also know we are going to have to play a lot better in the last couple of games to beat them but we are certainly capable and if they are having an off day then they’re there for the taking.”
One positive that the weather-enforced break has brought, however, is a much-needed rest for four or five players carrying knocks and now Scott is confident of fielding a full-strength team for the trip to Derbyshire.
In particular, the boss is looking to hand a long-awaited debut to new loan star Solomon Taiwo, who has been made to wait to pull on a Shots shirt for the first time.
“I’m looking forward to getting Solomon on the pitch, said Scott of the former Dagenham & Redbridge man on loan from Luton.
“He’s looked excellent in training and comes with a real pedigree so I’m looking forward to giving him some game time and seeing what he can do.”
Meanwhile, Scott has also entered into the on-going 3G pitch debate after Conference clubs voted last week against proposals to allow the use of synthetic surfaces in the top two tiers of Non-League.
Scott’s men have been training on the 3G pitch at Ash Manor School, as part of a joint venture, and although the Shots boss can appreciate their value in today's market, he believes their use in the professional game may just prove to be a step too far.
He added: “3G pitches are an excellent tool for clubs at Conference South level and below as they not only ensure that games get played in weather such as this but their 52-week-a-year use also provides vital revenue for them to survive.
“Clubs at Premier level, however, are vying to get into the Football League and have to adhere to their guidelines so that step may prove a step too far.”
* Aldershot Town have re-arranged their home game with Chester, for Tuesday March 11 (ko 7.45pm).
The following Tuesday (18) sees the visit of Kidderminster Harriers to the ESS Stadium.