Van Willigen: We Havant delivered

Havant head coach Merijn van Willigen (centre) is set to alter his side  Picture: Paul Jacobs (113320-1a)
Havant head coach Merijn van Willigen (centre) is set to alter his side Picture: Paul Jacobs (113320-1a)
Matt Cox opened the scoring for Havant in their defeat at Cheltenham.  Picture: Keith Woodland

Havant fall to defeat at Cheltenham

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HAVANT travel to the University of Birmingham this Sunday (2pm) bidding to reverse an eight-game winless run.

The Barncroft Way side have now been drawn into an ever-increasingly bitter struggle for survival in the Men’s National League conference west, with the bottom five teams separated by just four points.

And head coach Merijn van Willigen believes the time may finally have come to make changes in order to instill some much-needed confidence in his team.

He said: ‘We can’t really sit here and argue that everybody has delivered like we would expect, so I anticipate the squad will change.

‘Sometimes changes can work to refresh things a little bit and put a little bit of pressure on, but at the same time you know what you are getting from the players that you have.

‘We have to be conscious not to throw out the baby with the bath water.’

With the worst form in the league and a tough schedule to finish the season, van Willigen has his work cut out to avoid the nightmare situation of relegation from the National League.

But with four games remaining and a two-point cushion over second-bottom side Cheltenham, Havant’s head coach is confident his side have the necessary ability to address their alarming slump in form – starting this weekend.

He explained: ‘We have games left against Birmingham, Guildford, Exeter and Cardiff – all of those are opportunities for us to pick up points.

‘Purely from the perspective of league positions, then nothing has changed from last weekend and it is still very much up to us.

‘We will make a new plan for the weekend and we will still go in believing that we can beat them.

‘If you look at the league and consider even the good sides how variable their runs have been, I think that there are opportunities for points in every game and our view is as soon as you get those points the better really.’

Van Willigen, however, has acknowledged that his squad need to score more goals, especially on the road, where they have only found the net eight times.

But Havant’s head coach is adamant that it is up to his side to create their own luck in front of goal.

He admitted: ‘We have struggled to score goals, period.

‘It may well be exacerbated away from home but it is an issue we work on every week.

‘When you are stuck in a slump you get a sense that not only are you not playing as well as you could, but you are looking for that little bit of luck.

‘Sometimes you just need that bit of good fortune.

‘But if you keep doing the right things, then the goals will come.’