By Matt Badcock
Harry Pritchard thinks Maidenhead United are showing they are no National League pushovers – but says the Magpies know they need to get more points on the board to avoid any late season drama.
Alan Devonshire’s side won a thrilling National League South title race last season to secure the club’s first ever campaign in the National League.
And they’ve fared well on their debut in Non-League’s top flight, finding themselves in mid-table as the season enters into its latter stages.
Safety has always been the ultimate aim and winger Pritchard says the fact the majority of the squad have played together for three years – as well as boss Devonshire’s nous – will be a big factor in achieving it.
“I think we’ve done alright considering we’re one of only a few part-time teams in the league,” Pritchard told The NLP.
“I’m not sure whether most teams knew what they were going to come up against when they played us. They might have looked at us as an easy game but it’s never an easy game when you play against us.
“We’re always going to fight hard and work hard together. That’s exactly what we’ve been doing all season.
“So I think teams may have been surprised about the performances we’ve been putting in, especially away – our away form has not been too bad.
“We’ve probably surprised a few with our team spirit and how hard we work.
“Most of us have been together for about three years now. We know how each other work and how to get the best out of each other. Our main aim is to stay up. A few more wins – hopefully we get them as soon as we can – will make life a bit easier towards the end of the season.”
Pritchard recently passed the 250 appearance mark for Maidenhead. The 25-year-old joined six years ago from Burnham after cutting his teeth in Step 5 football with Flackwell Heath from the age of 16.
A personal trainer by day, it’s also his first season at this level and he’s shown his quality by topping the club’s goalscoring charts with 12 so far.
He’s now set his sights on reaching 15 as well as adding to the 11 assists he has already. And the left-sided midfielder is proud at the part he’s played in Maidenhead’s history.
“I had three seasons at Flackwell Heath in the Hellenic League and then went to Burnham two months,” he said. “It was nice to be playing men’s football as soon as I could rather than sitting in a youth team for too long.
“Every footballer dreams of playing as high as they can. Since I was four I’ve been playing football so to win the league last year and get into the National League was such a big achievement for myself, and obviously Maidenhead.
“The players who haven’t played in the League or this level before, to get promoted and get the opportunity is really special.”
*This article originally featured in The @NonLeaguePaper which is available every Sunday and Monday
Tagged Harry Pritchard