11:24AM, Monday 22 November 2021
Shaun Donnellan. Photo: Elle Francis.
Injuries, particularly in defence, have had a 'crippling' impact on Maidenhead United's recent results, but boss Alan Devonshire said they can't be used to excuse away the club's poor form.
United were comfortably beaten 4-0 by promotion chasing Boreham Wood on Saturday, succumbing meekly in a display Devonshire admitted was far from acceptable.
He's now hoping the players will rally round each other in training today (Monday) and help raise spirits for tomorrow evening's (Tuesday) crucial away game at Southend United.
Defensively the Magpies have been all at sea in recent weeks, conceding 15 times in just three matches.
At Meadow Park on Saturday, defender Jamie Sendles-White was thrown straight into the side after signing a short-term deal despite having not played in months, with Rhys Lovett, Will De Havilland and Ryheem Sheckleford all unavailable.
Scott Boden netted a brace and Jacob Mendy, and Josh Rees were also on target as Wood eased to victory, the result keeping them just a point behind National League leaders Chesterfield.
Devonshire hopes the injury situation will ease in the coming weeks and he'll be able to 'pick the side he wants to pick', however, until then he'll need the squad to ‘step up’ and show the kind of fight needed to turn around their current poor form.
Speaking to Maidenhead's media officer Grace Scott after the game, Devonshire said: “That was really poor, really disappointing.
“Every time the ball goes into our box we can’t seem to defend and every time there’s a corner it feels like someone is going to score against us.
“People have got to step up, and I apologised to some of the fans afterwards because it wasn’t good enough and the buck stops with me.
“The players have also got to take some responsibility of putting their heads in there, but it’s poor and we’ve got a big game now on Tuesday.
“We’ve got to rally round on Monday go there on Tuesday and then I’ve got some big decisions to make after that.”
Saturday's game at second placed Boreham Wood was a baptism of fire for defender Jamie Sendles-White.
Andre Burley has also been brought in from Wycombe Wanderers in recent weeks as Devonshire looks to sure up the side's defence, and he's also asked supporters to stick with the squad through this difficult patch.
“It was his first game for six months,” said Devonshire. “He'll probably be honest and say he didn’t do great.
“But it’s a position we’re struggling in, centre half. It’s hard to get them in those positions.
“Probably our best centre half at the moment, Will (De Havilland) is out, and when Ryheem gets fit, if I have to put Remy in there I will, but at the moment he’s got to play right back because we’ve got no other right back.
“We’ve got a few injuries that are just crippling us.
“I haven’t been able to pick the side that I want to pick, but that’s no excuse, today wasn’t good enough.
“We'll work hard and try and set things up for Tuesday.
“It’s a big pitch there and it’s a big game now.
“They’re all big games anyway, they’re a big club Southend, but we need to roll our sleeves up and battle.
“At the moment we’re too easy to play against.”
He added: “Just keep the faith. We’re going through a bad patch.
“We had a couple of good wins a few games ago, but we’ll work to get back to what we need to do.
“Hopefully when I get a few boys back we’ll be ok.”
Saturday’s result leaves the side 19th in the table, three points above 20th placed Southend who host them tomorrow night (Tuesday).
A number of schools across in Maidenhead and the surrounding areas have been named as top performers in Parent Power, The Sunday Times Schools Guide 2022.