Title chances 'in our own hands', says Grimsby Town joint boss Paul Hurst
PAUL Hurst assessed Grimsby Town’s Conference title chances and insisted “it’s in our own hands.”
With 13 matches between the Mariners and a potential Football League return, the joint boss says everyone he expected – apart from Luton Town – remain in the promotion mix.
And with the top-five now finally pulling away from the rest of the field, Hurst believes fourth-placed Town are exactly where they wanted to be heading into the final straight.
In short, it’s become a five-horse race for one automatic promotion spot, with the remaining sides
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having to ‘settle’ for a place in the play-offs.
Hurst told the Telegraph: “It’s in our own hands because we have Newport to play – it’s in their hands as well because of that.
“One or two others with the runs they’re on will fancy their chances as well, and that’s what makes it such an exciting and intriguing league.
“We obviously have to focus on our job, and at the moment I certainly don’t detect any nerves from the players – if anything they seem almost too relaxed.
“There’s always going to be a blip here and there, but realistically we’ve got to this stage through a lot of hard work, determination and there’s some quality in there as well.
“Now it’s about trying to finish the job off in the last two months.”
After Tuesday night’s 1-0 victory at sixth-placed Forest Green Rovers, Town’s bosses are aiming to knock more of their rivals out of the equation in the coming weeks.
Next up come Kidderminster Harriers, at Blundell Park on Saturday, before Tuesday’s trip to Field Mill to face another yet another of the promotion-chasers, Mansfield Town.
“All of the top teams that are up there now are what you would have predicted,” Hurst added.
“Kidderminster are looking to break into the play-offs, after a couple of seasons where they’ve been ever so close. The run they’re on has given them a great chance of going up automatically.
“Newport had the disappointment last year and I think they played it down to a point. But they’ve brought some players into the club that have improved them.
“Mansfield took a bit of time to get into their stride, but you’re now seeing how strong they are.
“And Wrexham have been there and done it the last two years.
“The one that isn’t quite in there at the moment is Luton, but looking at their fixtures they won’t give it up just yet I’m sure.
“It’s to be expected where all these teams are and some teams have to miss out.
“We’re doing everything in our power to ensure that isn’t us.”
The co-manager admits that the Mariners’ rise to the top of the table earlier this season has heightened expectations – for both fans and the bosses alike.
“We found ourselves top and still in with a chance of getting automatic promotion, and you then change your targets and goals,” he said.
“At the start of the season, we weren’t shouting ‘we’re going to get in the play-offs’ but that was a target and an aim.
“We felt we were putting a squad together that was capable of it, and there was also more experience from ourselves and the group of players that had remained with us.
“That’s proved to be the case but there is still a long away to go.”