NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: March Town boss Whaley calls for hungrier players ahead of festive derby

March Town's Craig Gillies (far right) scored in the last meeting with Downham Town. Picture: IAN CA

March Town's Craig Gillies (far right) scored in the last meeting with Downham Town. Picture: IAN CARTER - Credit: Archant

March Town will need to be hungrier than ever if they are looking to get their promotion push back on track.

Manager Brett Whaley expects to see a changed outfit to the side that lost to mid-table Cornard United in their last fixture, having suffered a sixth league defeat of the campaign.

The Hares now sit four points from fourth in Thurlow Nunn League First Division North ahead of their festive derby at leaders Downham Town (Saturday, 3pm), who have lost three from their 20 games so far.

March return from a two-week break after Saturday's game with Mulbarton Wanderers was postponed, and Whaley is confident his team can prove their true ability in Norfolk.

"They need to play it like a derby," he said.

"They need to go into it hungry; they should be aiming to get a result because of that.

"It's a big game because they're at the top of the table and it's off the back of a defeat.

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"When you're on a bad day, you want to try to put things right," Whaley said.

"As a squad, we've been really stretched. Players were playing with niggles; we weren't consistent which you often get at this level.

"We know we've got good players, but we looked tired in the last game and that's not an excuse going to Downham.

"Two weeks (without a game) for a player at this level can make them fresher and will actually do our squad good.

"We're a stronger squad than we were at the start of the season. We just need to now, in the New Year, aim for that level of consistency that we need."

Whaley should have no injury concerns apart from long-term absentees Scott Callaghan and Max Mattless, with defender Drew Barker also recovering.

March beat their weekend opponents in a First Division knockout cup tie on penalties last month, and they hope to deliver another slice of victory.

"Every time we turn out with the right attitude and approach, we get results, so it's onto our boys to make sure they do that again," Whaley added.