Chelmsford City boss Rod Stringer reflects on “tough” start to season

Clarets boss Rod Stringer said that despite a “hectic start” to the season he is pleased with how his side has performed.

In a recent interview with BBC Essex, the Chelmsford City boss said that, when taking into consideration the sides his team have faced so far this term, he is “happy” with where his side sit.

The Clarets hold an unbeaten record at home in the league, winning three times and drawing once. However, Stringer’s side has been more than unfortunate on the road.

Chelmsford were beaten 2-1 at Essex rivals Concord Rangers prior to being comfortably beaten 4-1 by league newcomers Weymouth. The Clarets put a brief end to their poor away form by drawing 1-1 with early league favourites Havant & Waterlooville; however, Stringer’s side were beaten comfortably 4-1 again by Maidstone United.

“It has been a tough start,” Stringer said to BBC Essex. “We’re still in transition, still trying to find the right balance.

“It’s been well documented that we’ve had a tough opening. So we have to be mindful of that, the opposition we’ve played are teams I think will be up there and around it. We haven’t played Wealdstone yet, but we’ve played the majority of the other sides you expect to be around there at the end of the season, we go in to Hemel [Hempstead] on Saturday. It’s another tough one.

“I always say there’s no easy games in this division, but I think we’ve found slightly harder ones in the opening part of the season. We have to take some comfort that we’ve had some tough fixtures, but where we are with the squad – we’ve had some injuries here and there which doesn’t help, so people have had to step in – and they’ve all done a good job.

“We probably haven’t got the points I’d have asked for at this stage of the season but  we’re certainly in the right direction and can see what is in front of us.”

Chelmsford City drew 1-1 with Billericay Town in their last outing in the League. Credit: Nicky Hayes

The Clarets take on Hemel Hempstead in their latest outing in the National League South on Saturday afternoon.

Managed by former Concord Rangers boss Sammy Moore, among the Tudors’ ranks also lie Sam Beasant and Craig Braham-Barrett.

“We know what Hemel will be about. He [Sammy Moore] did a great job at Concord and he’s started off with some good results this season.

“We have to be mindful but, as I say most weeks, it’s another game and we have to try and work on what our strengths are. If we can find much information out about Hemel, then we will try to see where we can win the game with that information.

“Generally it’s 11 against 11 and every game is tough. Our home form has been very good and our away form has been poor. So that’s what we’re trying to eradicate, to try and turn some results around away from home and we know it’ll be tough at Hemel but I’m sure he knows it’ll be tough us visiting them as well.”

Turning his focus away from Saturday’s trip to Hertfordshire, Stringer admitted that a break from midweek fixtures has come at the right time for his side.

The start of the league campaign signals the beginning of a frantic opening in which sides play nine games in just over a month; therefore, the action-packed start to the season can leave it’s mark on players and so Stringer is pleased with how his side have navigated their way through the first set of fixtures.

“It has for the players who have been playing, but not for those who haven’t been playing.” Stringer said. “In general, we’d have to say it’s come at the right time. Nine games in so many days is very hectic and you need a good squad to cope with that.

“With the points that we’ve got, we’re disappointed we didn’t win on Monday against Billericay, however, with the points we’ve amalgamated after that hectic start I’m quite happy with it.

“I suppose without Wealdstone flying away like they are, it would make the top half look a little bit closer but we’ve got a real pacesetter out there with Wealdstone and everyone, like us, has to play catch up.

“The play-offs is our main aim, it’s very tough to win the title outright. I still fancy two teams who will be there or thereabouts to win the League, that’s not writing us off completely but we know it’ll be tough.

“We’ve still got to be good enough to make the later stages of the season and see if we can achieve what we’ve wanted for the last three seasons in achieving promotion.”