Belper boss Grant Black: 'We must be ready to capitalise when rivals slip up'

Grant Black says Belper Town need to be ready for any slip-ups from the teams around them in the NPL Midlands promotion race.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 8:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 9:18 am
Grant Black (left) with skipper Danny South. Belper Town go to Sporting Khalsa this weekend. Photo by Mike Smith.
Grant Black (left) with skipper Danny South. Belper Town go to Sporting Khalsa this weekend. Photo by Mike Smith.

The Nailers currently lie fourth in the table, four points behind joint-leaders Ilkeston and Halesowen but having played a game more than each of them.

And with just seven points separating the top five sides, manager Black knows there is plenty still to play for.

He said: “Plenty of the top sides still have to play each other so there will inevitably be points dropped and we have to be in a position to capitalise on that.

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"We have to just stick with the pack and give ourselves the best chance, whether that’s for automatic promotion or through the play-offs, for which there is plenty of competition at the moment as well.

"We said to the lads at Ilkeston that if we’d lost to them we hadn’t lost the league and if we beat them we hadn’t won it, and that still applies to any game at the moment.

"We’re well in with a shout of pushing whoever is at the top and will strive to do that.”

Belper were without a competitive game last weekend so instead played a friendly at Shirebrook Town, running out 7-1 winners.

The Nailers had several players and staff members, including Black, unavailable for Covid-related reasons and injury but he was nevertheless happy with how the afternoon went.

He said: “We’d known for a while we wouldn’t have a game and Shirebrook were about the only team that were also free, so we’re grateful to them for putting on the game for us.

"It was good for us to get some minutes for certain players and we played some good stuff on a big pitch.”

Belper now go to Sporting Khalsa on Saturday, a side who have designs on a play-off place themselves.

It will be another occasion where the Nailers will play on a 3G pitch but Black says his side will be ready.

He added: “We have a 3G facility at Belper which we’ve trained on and obviously with having played already at places like Yaxley and Ilkeston we’ve got good experience on that surface.

"Khalsa are a good side and with a few good results can be right up there with us so it’s another important game.”