Brackley need a play-off mentality now, says interim manager Dean

Gareth Dean believes the Brackley Town players need to get into a “play-off mentality” now as they gear up for three games that will ultimately decide their fate this season.
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It’s been a breathless week for the Saints as Roger Johnson was sacked last Saturday, 24 hours after they had been beaten 2-1 at home by former boss Kevin Wilkin’s already-relegated AFC Telford United.

That was Brackley’s third defeat in a row with Johnson paying the price for a poor run of form, despite the club still sitting in the play-off places in the Vanarama National League North.

Club captain Dean, who is on the sidelines due to injury, was asked to take interim charge until the end of the season and his first game at the helm ended in a 2-2 draw at Hereford on Easter Monday with Callum Stead putting Brackley in front before Sam Smart levelled after they had fallen 2-1 behind..

Interim boss Gareth Dean watches on during his first game in charge of Brackley Town in the 2-2 draw at Hereford on Easter Monday. Picture by Glenn AlcockInterim boss Gareth Dean watches on during his first game in charge of Brackley Town in the 2-2 draw at Hereford on Easter Monday. Picture by Glenn Alcock
Interim boss Gareth Dean watches on during his first game in charge of Brackley Town in the 2-2 draw at Hereford on Easter Monday. Picture by Glenn Alcock

Brackley now sit in fifth place but now have just a two-point cushion over Alfreton Town, who sit just outside the play-off spots.

The Saints host sixth-placed Darlington on Saturday before a trip to Buxton and a home clash with Alfreton, two teams chasing the top seven, round of the regular season.

And Dean said: “The boys have probably got to get into that early play-off mentality now.

“The three games to come are arguably play-off games in themselves.

“If we win two of them, we should be in there and we need to try to get those points on the board as quickly as possible.

“That needs to be the mentality now, that every game is a play-off game.

“These are big matches against some teams who are in better form than us and it’s all going to be about how much you want to be in there.

“From what I saw on Monday, I believe these boys want to have a right go and if they do that then I think we’ll be in with a really good chance of being where we want to be.”

As far as his first experience in the dugout was concerned, Dean added: “It was stressful!

“But I had Woodsy (Martin Woods) and Jimmy (Armson) on the sidelines with me and we enjoyed it.

“Everything I asked of the players, I got. They worked so hard and it was a really assured performance. I couldn’t ask any more from them, they ran their socks off.

“I got 90 minutes out of two players who probably won’t remember the last time they played 90 minutes so people were on their last legs.

“There were lots of emotions in the dressing-room beforehand and there are lads who want to do well for me. I just want them to do well and they battled for each other.

“I think the fans will have gone away from that and thought that is what you want to see from your team, regardless of the result.

“They gave everything. There’s some fine tuning bits that need improving but, other than that, they gave their all and if you’re paying to watch a football team then, at a minimum, that’s what you want to see.”