Leiston stand on verge of historic play-off place

Leiston boss Glenn Driver. Photo: NIGEL BROWN

Leiston boss Glenn Driver. Photo: NIGEL BROWN

Archant

Leiston boss Glenn Driver is hoping for a big crowd and a joyous day at Victory Road tomorrow afternoon.

The Blues are on the cusp of the Bostik Premier play-offs knowing tomorrow a point at home to Hendon – who themselves are guaranteed a play-off place – will guarantee Leiston the same, for the first time in the club’s history.

Indeed, even a defeat could be enough, unless there is a six-goal swing from the Leiston game and sixth-placed Margate’s clash at Dulwich Hamlet, which the Kent side need to win.

For Driver and assistant boss Tony Kinsella, getting Leiston this far has been a terrific achievement after missing out last season in the final game.

“It’s one of the biggest games in the club’s history and we are all really looking forward to it,” Driver said.

“Having more than 400 people here on Tuesday against Needham Market (Leiston won 2-0), shows what support we can get. I hope the people of Leiston come out and support us. A great atmosphere is so important.

“Hendon will want to win and try to secure a home tie in the play-offs. There is so much to play for.

“Last year we were disappointed to miss out on the play-offs in the final minutes of the final match.”

Hendon beat Leatherhead 2-1 to secure their play-off place this week, Billericay have been crowned champions. Dulwich Hamlet and Folkestone are also already in the play-offs. The final place is between Leiston, Margate and Leatherhead (who would need a huge swing of goals to get in).

So, the ball is in Leiston’s court, as Driver knows.

“We have no divine right to get in the play-offs and never have had,” he said.

“It’s a lot of hard work. I want this so much for the players.

“Last year I don’t think I realised the importance of it all. I do know.”

And while Driver has his eyes set on this weekend and further this season, including a Suffolk Premier Cup final against Bury Town, he’s already looking ahead.

“The club is making big strides, our U18s have just won the league and already I’ve identified two or three young players I want to bring to our club next season.

“Enticing young players is a big part of what we want to do going forward.”

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