Form side ready for big Walks test
Maidenhead manager Johnson Hippolyte insists the pressure is on King's Lynn in tonight's Southern League, Premier Division play-off semi-final. The fast finishing Magpies gatecrashed the promotion picture with a late surge and Hippolyte admits his buoyant squad arrive at The Walks intent on prolonging the ride.
Maidenhead manager Johnson Hippolyte insists the pressure is on King's Lynn in tonight's Southern League, Premier Division play-off semi-final.
The fast finishing Magpies gatecrashed the promotion picture with a late surge and Hippolyte admits his buoyant squad arrive at The Walks intent on prolonging the ride.
Champions Bath and runners up Team Bath are the only sides to take league points off Lynn's opponents in a run dating back to mid-February. Hippolyte's men also spoiled Keith Webb's managerial debut in December.
“Two months ago we were nowhere near the play-offs,” said Hippolyte. “I'd just taken over, brought in some new players and it took us time to gel. Now the lads are flying. We're in great form and we coped ever so well with a lot of games in a short period.
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“No one expected us to be here. There's no pressure on us. Whatever happens this week, we have done something very special. It's a one-off game. With a little bit of luck I'm hoping we can edge a tight match.
“We won at King's Lynn not long after I had taken over but we know how tough this one will be because they are one of the biggest clubs in the division.”
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The Magpies' boss admits former Linnet Grant Cooper has been a revelation since his mid-season switch.
“Coops has been superb,” said Hipployte. “I think when he first came in we won ten games on the bounce, and only conceded once in that period. He's helped to organise us at the back and he's also a big influence on the youngsters. He's a nice guy as well. We had to bring in a lot of different players with experience at a higher level and it always takes time. The team who starts against King's Lynn will probably have six of seven players who I've brought to the club.”
Cooper is desperate to shine against his former employers after a New Year exit sparked by his lack of regular first team opportunities.
“To draw King's Lynn in the semi-final is fantastic,” he said. “I've had some of the lads phoning me up since the weekend and to be honest I can't bear the thought of losing. Getting into the play-offs and playing King's Lynn is superb. The players can't wait - it's a massive game.
“When I moved the manager told me that we had a good side, but we were underachieving. I wanted to get in and start winning because I was still worried about relegation. The players just came together and we have gone on a fantastic run. I think we needed that winning mentality and hopefully that's what I've brought in.”