Title is within Team Dudley's grasp, insists AFC Ludlow star Dale Hodge

THE West Midlands League Division Two title is in the grasp of Wrens Nest and Team Dudley, claims AFC Ludlow star Dale Hodge.

AFC Ludlow are second in the table, four points adrift of table-topping Team Dudley, and travel to Malvern Rangers this Saturday.

“We have to win every game now,” said Hodge. “I don’t know if we are going to win the league but we need Wrens Nest and Team Dudley to drop points. I think the title is Team Dudley’s to lose. If they win all their matches then there is nothing we can do. Dudley are in the best position, but we still have to play them”.

“We are not expected to win the league and that means the pressure is off us.”

Manager Dave Cooper said Dale Hodge’s brother, Nathan, and Jamie Marsh are not available for Saturday’s important match.

“We didn’t play last weekend and, sadly, the results were not favourable for us,” said Cooper.

“We only have four league matches remaining and, to stand any chance of winning the league, we have to win them all.

“I am hoping it’s not too late. We had some poor results at home earlier in the season against Penkridge, Wrens Nest and Warstone and I hope they don’t come back to bite us.”

Hodge says whoever wins the championship this season will be worthy winners.

“Nest have some tough matches coming up against Hunters and Raiders. We need some good fortune in those games.

“Whoever wins the championship this season will be worthy winners. If we don’t win the title this year, then we will win it next season. Our aim is to be playing in the West Midlands Premier League within five years.”

Hodge says he can’t wait to get back out there for AFC Ludlow.

Hodge said: “It is always good to go back and play for AFC Ludlow. I will try and make myself available as much as I can for the gaffer.”

AFC Ludlow’s young-guns will have learned a lot from the club’s narrow 1-0 win against Hunters, Hodge insists.

He said: “The Hunters game was a good experience for our youngsters’. The match was a proper battle. Midweek games are always tough. It is easier to win 10-0 against Wolverhampton Sporting Community Reserves on our 3G pitch on a Saturday afternoon – then it is to go out onto a rubbish surface and have to ground out a result. I think it was a good experience for them.”

Hodge believes AFC Ludlow’s good form is down to the excellent team spirit from within the squad.

AFC Ludlow have won five matches in a row since the turn of the year.

Hodge said: “We know we can beat anyone on our day. Our spirit is good. The manager has got a good bunch of lads at the club. We are all at AFC Ludlow for the same reason. We all want to play football and unwind afterwards. It is a great group of lads.”

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