CARL ADAMS says the ‘reality check’ of back -to-back defeats to promotion-seeking opponents should only inspire Stratford Town to be more and more competitive.
Town manager Adams stressed Stratford’s priority – in only their second season in the Southern Premier – remains to become established at this level.
Despite a 2-1 defeat at Chippenham Town last weekend and then a 3-0 home loss to Merthyr Town on Tuesday, Stratford occupy 12th in the table.
While Adams admits Town’s young squad will inevitably have its ups and downs, he says the challenge is to keep improving.
“In the last two games, we’ve come up against two teams that were better than us,” said Adams. “It’s as simple as that.
“I really feel Chippenham and Merthyr are going to be there or thereabouts.
“We’ve closed the gap on the middle of the table teams, when you look at our results against the likes of Cirencester and Chesham. The challenge is to keep improving, keep learning from every game and becoming stronger and stronger.
“Sometimes you feel you take two steps forward and then one step back but that’s football. You get knockbacks and it’s how you respond that matters.
“We keep progressing. We’ve come a long way in a few years. We are disappointed to lose to Chippenham and Merthyr in the Southern Premier when three years ago we were losing to Highgate in the Midland Alliance.”
Stratford will have three games in seven days this week in three different competitions.
King’s Lynn Town, who lie three points behind Town, visit the DCS Stadium tomorrow (Saturday) and then Adams’ men travel to Stourbridge on Monday for a Birmingham Senior Cup tie.
Next Saturday, Stratford begin their FA Trophy campaign with a home tie against Evo-Stik Northern Premier side Grantham.
On-loan midfielder Donnell Benjamin, who is one of Solihull Moors’ development players, is set to make his league debut tomorrow.
Benjamin started against Redditch in the League Cup win at Redditch but got injured and has been on the bench in the last two games.
“Donnell will start on Saturday – he deserves his chance,” said Adams. “Solihull Moors hold him in really high regard and we looking forward to seeing how he fares.”
Full-back Dan Summerfield will be ruled out after picking up a hamstring injury in midweek, while striker Richard Gregory starts a three-game ban after his red card against Weymouth.