28 May 2024

Dutton praises young squad as they look forward to the playoffs

Brian Dutton has praised his relatively young squad for their performance this season and is looking forward to the playoff semi-final against Gosport Borough.

Salisbury Radio sat down with Salisbury manager Brian Dutton for an interview about the season and the upcoming playoff semi-final on Wednesday.

When asked how he thought the season had gone, Dutton said, “It’s gone better than expected for sure. As a brand new group, we only kept three players from last season, and I was expecting this season to be like a transitional one.

“It turned out that we just got off to a flier and kept that momentum and managed to stay in the top end of the table all the way through.

“That’s credit to the boys and how much they get on with each other and how much there’s chemistry there between them.”

Salisbury finished the season in third with their highest-ever points tally at this level. They will welcome Gosport Borough to the Ray Mac on Wednesday evening for a huge fixture.

Josh Hedges celebrates scoring against Gosport at the Ray Mac earlier in the season (Image: Michael Berkeley)

Dutton believes the players are ready after proving themselves mentally and physically this season. “I think it’s about characters. You want players on the pitch who are going to grab the bull by the horns and just get out there and go show what they’ve got.

“What will be will be. You’ve just got to leave it all out there, and yeah, not shirk anything, not shy away, and be positive.”

This will be the fourth meeting between the two sides this season; Dutton expects a tight match, “We finished very close to each of this season in terms of the points and the games that we’ve played against them.

“I feel like we’ve edged the games in terms of performance, but the results, however you want to look at them, are one loss by penalties, a draw, and a win for Salisbury at home.

“So tight games, tight affairs, two good teams going at it. But crucially, we managed to get that win at home in front of our own fans. And I’m sure as long as we’re at it and we’re on our mettle, we will use that home advantage and it’ll be crucial.”

Crowds at the Ray Mac have grown as the season has progressed, and they can play their part on Wednesday, too, “There’s nothing better than Salisbury under the lights, in my opinion.

It’ll be a great atmosphere. I’m sure it’ll be another huge turnout, and the fans have been fantastic this season. Obviously. One of the key things that I said to Cal, my assistant, when I took the job on is that we’ve got to get the Ray Mac back to a fortress. We’ve got to get the fans back because it just felt a little bit soulless. A little bit quiet would probably be the correct word.

“[If] you look at our home record this season, I think it’s second only to Chesham in the league and probably another record broken in terms of the amount of points we’ve gone home this season in the Southern League and where we have got that now we’ve got the fans back, how it should be on Wednesday and I think you’re probably going to hear it and see it at its finest.”

Hear more from Brian Dutton this afternoon with Andy on Salisbury Radio. on DAB – SMART SPEAKERS and ONLINE

Salisbury FC V Gosport Borough – Wednesday 1st May – 7:45pm – Ray Mac

Tickets are available for the playoff semi-final against Gosport Borough on the club’s website – https://salisburyfc.co.uk/tickets/

The club are advising tickets be bought in advance because of the expectation of a large crowd. The game will be fully segregated.

Written by
Andy Munns
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Written by Andy Munns