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Devonshire: Returning players will help Maidenhead United return to form

Their recent form wouldn’t suggest so but, with players returning from injury, Magpies’ boss Alan Devonshire is confident his side can pick up some positive results and start pulling away from the relegation zone in the coming weeks. 

Alongside Stockport County, Maidenhead have the worst form of any side in the Nation-al League, and Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at Eastleigh was their eighth game without a win.

It’s a run that’s seen them dragged to within two points of the drop zone. But there were shoots of recovery in Tuesday’s display at the Silverlink Stadium, where United equalised through birthday boy Danny Whitehall.

They went on to shade the contest on chances but two headed goals from Danny Hollands and Tyrone Barnett saw them fall to a sixth defeat in eight matches. 

“We did play well but it doesn’t seem to be happening for us at the minute,” said Devonshire. 

“The actual performance was pleasing. We moved the ball around well and created chances but we still ended up losing so we’re really disappointed.

“The players were gutted afterwards because we felt we deserved something out of the game. But it is what it is. We just have to keep working hard.”

James Akintunde missed the side’s stand-out chance to take a point from the clash but he slipped as he went clean through on the Spitfires’ goal, injuring himself in the process. 

“James (Akintunde) went clean through for what would have been an equaliser for us, but I don’t know if he’s slipped or something. But we had other chances as well. We had more chances than them, let’s put it that way,” said Devonshire.

“We probably weren’t as clinical as we needed to be but it’s nice to see a few of the boys back on the field.

“Remy Clerima should return this weekend as well, so we’re starting to get a few back now. With them returning, hopefully we can start pushing up the league.”

Results across the league have been difficult to predict this season. Who, for example, would have predicted AFC Fylde to be occupying one of the four relegation spots? But United will finally play a side that are out of form when they visit bottom club Ebbsfleet United on Saturday.

Clashes with Fleet – promoted alongside Maidenhead a few seasons ago – are usually highly charged, feisty affairs and Saturday’s clash is likely to be no different. 

“It’s a tough league and if you’re looking at all the game, they’re difficult to predict,” added the Magpies’ boss.

“There’s a couple of teams in the relegation zone at the minute who you wouldn’t expect to be there. We’ve just got to make sure we don’t get sucked into that by picking up a couple of good results.

“They (Ebbsfleet) will be under pressure and they’ll look to target us for three points because of the results we’ve been having.

“We know what they’re good at but we’ve just got to go there and work hard and play our football when we can.”

Despite their recent poor form, Devonshire believes the club is in a far better place than at the same stage of last season, when they were being turned over far too easily.

“We’ve been in every game so we’re not in the same situation as last year,” said Devonshire.

“It’s always going to be tough in this league. There are no gimme games, every one is a hard game. We’ve got to roll our sleeves up and hopefully it will change.

“Yeah, the boys are a bit down because they were on a high when we started the season so well. Now we’re not (playing well) and they’re trying to figure out why, because we haven’t changed anything. It just doesn’t seem to be going for us at the moment and the only way around that is hard work, I’m afraid.”

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