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Maidstone United head of football John Still fired up for run-in as battle for National League South play-off places draws near

Maidstone head of football John Still can’t wait for the business end of the season.

After Tuesday night’s postponement at Tonbridge, Stones still have 16 games left to play in National League South in the next three months.

Maidstone United head of football John Still Picture: Steve Terrell
Maidstone United head of football John Still Picture: Steve Terrell

They sit four points outside the play-off places and Still is looking forward to battling it out when it matters most.

“The best part of the season is the back end,” said Still. “The games become much tighter in the last 10 or 12 matches – we’re nearly at that point.

“They are the best games to play in coming up, I love them. It’s like playing in cup ties or semi-finals.

“The games at the end of the season bring out that little extra in you, they are more competitive than matches in the middle of the season.

“When you get to this stage, some teams at the top find games more difficult as that is when the pressure is on.

“It’s about dealing with it, and not making a knee-jerk reaction if you concede a goal. It’s not the end of the world because most games don’t end 1-0, it should spur you on to work even harder.”

It’s one of the reasons why Still wants Maidstone to be more consistent.

On their day, Stones can compete with the best in the division but they’ve recently lost at St Albans to underline the gulf in their displays.

“I don’t feel the consistent teams get affected by losing a goal,” said Still. “The games are going to be tight and up and down.

“We can’t control what a referee, a linesman or the opposition do but we can control what we can do. I call it control the controllables – that’s all we can do.

“If people think we’re not going to win a certain game, it’s easy for them to say that but they are not in control of what we’re doing. We can’t be affected by anyone else.”

Maidstone have won just four of their last 12 league games so a similar run of form in the next two months will not help them break back into the top seven.

Still knows that they’ve got find some consistency.

“It’s unpredictable,” said Still, when talking about his side’s form. “We can go to Havant and win 2-1 and then lose 1-0 at St Albans.

“Our key word has been consistency. When we’re good, we’re very good – I think we’re as good as there is in the division.

“We have to bridge that gap, though. We can’t have some players at 8/10 and some at 5/10, we need everyone to be at least 7/10 and that’s the key.

“It’s been difficult because the squad has suffered with injuries but that’s not an excuse. But to get that consistency, it’s good if I’ve got consistency in team selection too.”

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