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Ashford United aiming to send fit-again striker Jay May out on a high

Jay May has recovered from injury in a big boost to Ashford’s promotion chances - and they want to send him out with a bang.

The Nuts & Bolts secured an Isthmian South East play-off place with a 2-1 win at Lancing last weekend.

Ashford United striker Jay May is back in business after a calf injury Picture: Ian Scammell
Ashford United striker Jay May is back in business after a calf injury Picture: Ian Scammell

And there’s more good news for manager Tommy Warrilow, with May over a calf problem that’s kept the veteran striker on the sidelines for weeks.

He’s contemplating retirement at the end of the season and what a way to go if he could help Ashford to promotion.

He is due to train tonight and could feature in the Easter programme, with Ashford hosting Ramsgate on Saturday and visiting Faversham on Monday.

“It’s great to have Jay back,” said Warrilow.

“If this is going to be his last season, rather than go quietly, let’s send him out with a bang, hopefully in the play-off final.

“If we could get to the final and win it, it would be a fitting tribute after the career he’s had.

“He does pick up a few injuries now - backs and calves - but it’s not just that, it’s getting up to go to work in the morning when you’re struggling. Sometimes you’ve got to call it.

“We’ve missed his physical presence. Just because he doesn’t sprint in behind, people don’t realise what he does - he takes so many people out of the game.

“We played someone earlier this season who spent the whole week working on defending second balls, and Jay wasn’t even playing, but that’s the effect he has on opponents.

Ashford United manager Tommy Warrilow Picture: Ian Scammell
Ashford United manager Tommy Warrilow Picture: Ian Scammell

“If he comes through training and we get him right, he’ll be a fantastic addition for the end of the season.

“Will he play on Saturday? He might do, he might not. We’ll use him as we see fit. If he does play, it doesn’t mean we’ll be shelling it long.

"We play to our strengths, but we do everything. We go long, we play nice stuff. You do what gets results.”

Ashford opened up a four-point cushion over third-placed Cray Valley after first-half goals from Jack Richards and Luke Burdon at Lancing, despite missing seven players through illness and injury.

Two more wins would guarantee second place and home advantage however far they go in the play-offs.

“It’s nice to be the first team definitely in the play-offs,” said Warrilow. “It alleviates some of the pressure, if you call it pressure, and now we have to make sure we finish second.

“It’s not to be sniffed at, reaching the play-offs. I sent the boys a group message saying well done, don’t dismiss what we’ve achieved, now let’s finish the job.

“We played really well on Saturday. We could have been five or six up - the keeper made some unbelievable saves.

“We had to dig in for the last 15 minutes, and the referee somehow found six minutes of added time, but we held out.”

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