TIM O’Shea insists both he and the Lewes FC board are in a positive mood as the side prepare for three season-defining games.
Seven points from safety at the bottom of the Blue Square Bet South table, the Rooks hope to build on last Saturday’s 0-0 draw away at St Albans by beating the other side in the relegation zone, Boreham Wood, tomorrow afternoon.
Games at fellow strugglers Maidenhead United and Hampton & Richmond Borough follow Boreham Wood, and O’Shea is in a confident mood despite his side’s recent poor form.
He said: “We take a lot of heart from the fact Thurrock, St Albans and Boreham have all put together decent runs of form.
“We’re not a million miles away from any of those sides, and if they’re capable of building momentum then so are we.
“I’m always a believer, and I’m still believing we have what it takes to stay in this division. The board are positive, and we hope the supporters stick with us and continue backing the team.”
Lewes missed the opportunity to pull nearer to the sides immediately above them after a drab stalemate with The Saints. It was the fourth consecutive game in which the Rooks have failed to score, and means their run of two wins in 12 matches – which began after beating St Albans in mid-November – continues.
But O’Shea has taken plus points from the clash, and the clean-sheet means they’ve now leaked just two goals in their last five matches.
He said: “Of course I wasn’t best pleased with the result, and the lack of a cutting-edge is worrying. Yet I think we’re looking more solid, especially at the back, and that gives us a base to work on.”
On Tuesday evening, Boreham Wood defeated the Saints 1-0 in a vital game between the two other sides who occupy the relegation spots along with The Rooks.
The win means Ian Allinson’s side are now six points clear of Lewes, and one behind St. Alban’s.
O’Shea watched the game ahead of Saturday’s showdown at the Dripping Pan.
He said: “I was impressed with how Boreham played, and they move the ball about very well.
“In (Ali) Chaaban and (Elliott) Godfrey, they have two very good players and we’ll need to keep a close eye on them.
“They’re in a rich vein of form right now but ultimately it doesn’t matter – we’ve got to get our own house in order first.“
St Albans will find out today if they face a points deduction for allegedly making illegal payments to their players.
Yet O’Shea isn’t hoping the FA make a significant enough dent in The Saints points total even though it could lift Lewes off the bottom.
The former Republic of Ireland youth international said: “I don’t wish a points deduction upon anybody, and given their recent run of form, it’s unfair on Steve (Castles) and his players.”
Lewes lost three players in the January transfer window, as Ghanaian attacking midfielder Ali Fuseini joined League Two side Lincoln City, and George Porter and James Rowe returned to their parents clubs after loan spells.
O’Shea said: “Ali was a shrewd bit of business, and we were grateful to have him playing here for as long as he did.
“The fact we can attract players of that quality is a good sign, but Ali deserves to be playing in the Football League.
“As for George, he was just what the doctor ordered when he arrived. But he never got back into the groove after getting himself suspended and then dislocating his shoulder at Ebbsfleet.
“James has gone back to Reading after showing down here what a talented footballer he is. But a relegation battle wasn’t the correct environment for someone like James to express himself.”
One player looking to make his debut for Lewes after joining on the last day of January is Lyle Taylor. The 20-year-old striker has moved to the Dripping Pan on a month’s loan from AFC Bournemouth, who signed Taylor in the summer after he netted 34 goals for Concord Rangers.
On his new frontman, O’Shea said: “Lyle has come in as he wants to get some games under his belt and get among the goals again.
“He’s looking to show Bournemouth that he has what it takes to succeed, and hopes to use this loan spell to play himself into contention for their first team.“