MANAGER Les Jones believes February could make or break Malvern Town’s season.
The Hillsiders currently sit four points clear at the top of the West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division table and make the trip to second-placed Black Country Rangers on Saturday.
Then on Tuesday night Malvern are away to Wolverhampton Sporting Community in the quarter-finals of the Premier Division Cup, their last chance of securing silverware this season.
Following their cup exploits, the HDAnywhere Community Stadium side take on Ellesmere Rangers next Saturday, Dudley Town on February 17, Smethwick on February 24 and third-placed Tividale on February 27.
With such crucial games on the horizon, Jones told the Observer that Malvern’s season could be turned upside down if results go against them.
“February is definitely make or break for us,” said Jones.
“All we can do is keep on winning and take each game as it comes.
“Even though we have a cup game to play, our main focus is on the league and we are going to be in for a difficult game at Black Country Rangers this weekend.
“They have not lost a league game since October and are scoring freely so it is important we defend well but also take our chances when they come.
“We will set our stall out to win as a draw will not be good enough.”
Spirits will be high in the Malvern camp though, after they secured a 2-1 victory over sixth-placed Cradley Town on Saturday to extend their unbeaten league run to 14 games.
After a goalless first-half, the Hillsiders drew first blood with 15 minutes remaining when Josh Hunt was on hand to volley home at the back post after meeting Harry Wicketts’ pin-point delivery.
And eight minutes later the hosts added a second when Louis Loader’s deflected free-kick sailed into the net.
Lee Smith pulled a goal back for Cradley in the third-minute of stoppage time but it proved too little too late as Malvern moved four points clear at the top of the table.
“Pitches are always difficult at this time of year so to come away with a win was fantastic,” said Jones.
“We had more than enough chances to end the game as easy winners but on the whole it was a pleasing performance.”