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Tonbridge Angels manager Jay Saunders determined to take National League South play-off race down to the final day

Tonbridge manager Jay Saunders has challenged his players to keep their season alive going into the final day.

Angels’ National League South play-off hopes suffered a setback when they lost 1-0 at home to Kent rivals Dartford last Saturday.

Tonbridge Angels manager Jay Saunders. Picture: Randolph File
Tonbridge Angels manager Jay Saunders. Picture: Randolph File

Saunders’ side sit 11th but maximum points in their last three games could still get them into the top seven.

They visit Chippenham on Saturday and Farnborough on Tuesday before finishing at home to Cheshunt next weekend.

Tonbridge are seven points behind Braintree, who occupy the final play-off spot, but have a game in hand.

Saunders said: “Performance levels have dropped slightly, I’d say, in the last few weeks but we’ve still got a chance of finishing the season strongly and that’s the target.

“It’s something that happens during the season and sometimes it happens at the wrong time but, mathematically, we can still make the play-offs if we win the last three games.

“Even if we win two and draw one you never know.

“We’re going into Saturday with the hope that we can get a win to take us into Tuesday.

“I’d love to keep the season alive going into the last day and then you never know.

“There’s always one team that creeps into the play-offs at the end of the season.

“I’d love to have chance of making it. It adds a real buzz if there’s something riding on the last game.

“If we can’t, I still want to finish as high as we can.

“If we could get top 10 from where the club were last season, that would be an unbelievable achievement.”

Tonbridge have everyone available for Chippenham, leaving Saunders with one or two decisions to make.

The Bluebirds beat Dartford in last season’s play-off eliminator before bowing out to Ebbsfleet in the semi-finals.

They’re in mid-table this time and on a run of one defeat in 18 games.

“We beat them at our place but I thought they were a good side,” said Saunders.

“They had a good cup run, which affected their league form, but they’ve put a good run together since then.

“They’re comfortable in the league and when you’re playing without pressure that’s sometimes when you play your best football.

“We’re looking forward to going there. You try and pick players that are right for certain games.

“We’ve got look at the squad and pick the ones in form.”

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