Foundrymen can cope with the pressure, says boss Cairns

Action from the 2-2 draw between ON Chenecks and Raunds Town last weekend
Action from the 2-2 draw between ON Chenecks and Raunds Town last weekend
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Stewarts & Lloyds boss John Cairns says his team can cope with the promotion pressure.

The Foundrymen face a pair of six-pointers in Division One of the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League this week.

Tomorrow (Saturday), they welcome ON Chenecks to Occupation Road for a third-versus-second clash.

And on Tuesday night, S&L head to Long Buckby, who are unbeaten in six games.

Buckby made headlines this month when they stopped runaway leaders Peterborough Sports’ 100 per cent start to the season with a 3-0 win.

And S&L went on to topple Sports three days later, a pair of Michael Byrne goals sealing a 2-1 win.

Sports still seem certain to go up as champions, but the second promotion place is up for grabs. S&L are currently five points behind second-placed Chenecks with three games in hand.

Cairns describes the next two games as the biggest of the season, but the pressure of a promotion run-in isn’t new to him or his players.

Cairns and Harbans Basra took over last summer after steering Corby Eagles to three successive promotions.

They brought several players with them, including skipper Paul Caswell, and in Tommy Berwick and Byrne they have experienced players who know what it takes to get promotion.

Cairns said: “We have a lot of good characters in the team who have been in this position before.

“The pressure isn’t new to the management or the players. This is the sort of pressure you want.

“Games are running out and if we don’t want to be relying on other teams doing us favours, we need to be doing well in these six-pointers.”

Cairns admits last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Potton United left him “absolutely devastated”.

He added: “We battered them in the second half, missed chance after chance and they nicked it in the last couple of minutes. It was hard to take.”

Cairns says he’s been pleased with the form of Berwick since he joined the club.

He describes the ex-AFC Rushden & Diamonds striker as “a real workhorse” and added: “Tommy hasn’t played at this level before and now he realises that you don’t get a lot of time on the ball.

“Once he’s adapted to that, he will be a very good player for us.”

Elsewhere in Division One this weekend, there are a couple of local derbies with Thrapston Town taking on Rushden & Higham United at Chancery Lane while Whitworth host bottom club Burton Park Wanderers.

Irchester United entertain fourth-placed Potton United while Raunds Town also have home advantage against Blackstones.