GARY Whild believes Kidderminster Harriers’ astonishing winning streak has thrust them into the play-off reckoning in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
Saturday’s victory over the Welsh table-toppers Newport County was their fifth in a row and went a long way to wiping out the damage done by their pointless start to the season.
Just one defeat in the last 17 Conference clashes has inspired a remarkable turn around in their season, propelling them from bottom of the table to seventh and leaving them just four points off the play-off spots.
Victory over Newport, who bounced back to trounce Luton 5-2 on Tuesday night, also sent out shockwaves through the league.
“Since I’ve been at the club, we’ve been used to pushing for the play-offs,” commented assistant boss Whild.
“Everybody knows what happened to us at the start of the season and nobody at the club was very happy about it.
“But we’ve managed to make up some of the ground we lost and put ourselves in a better position.
“Our aim has always been to reach the play-offs and that is still an ambition we aspire to.
“The lads are playing with a lot of confidence at the moment and long may it continue.”
Harriers now face a different sort of challenge on Saturday when they go to Conference South strugglers Bromley in the second round of the FA Trophy (3pm ko).
They will be without winger Marvin Johnson, who fractured his toe and is set for five weeks on the sidelines. Midfielder Kyle Storer is suspended for one match after picking five yellow cards.
Harriers boss Steve Burr and his troops will not be under estimating their Kent-based opponents, insists Whild.
He said: “Bromley are a league below us but we’ve done our homework on them and will be taking the game seriously.
“There’s no doubt that the FA Trophy is a competition we are very keen to go a long way in.”
Harriers are still in talks with defender Josh Gowling about extending his deal and remain hopeful of tying him up until the end of the season.
The club also released midfielder Manny Panther at the end of last week.
The Scotsman joined at the end of August but has only made two substitute appearances in September.
Whild also praised the impact of highly sought after striker Jamille Matt, who sank Newport with a devastating hat-trick on Saturday.
Since his return to action the hitman, who was watched by a host of scouts again at the weekend, has scored four goals in as many starts.
Whild said: “I think Jamille has already made it clear he’s very grateful for all the support he received during a very difficult period in his life.
“Being the sort of lad that he is, he wants to pay the club back.”
Chairman Mark Serrell also confirmed an unnamed Football League club have registered their interest in the striker but said no offers had been made for him.
Norhampton and West Bromwich Albion are all keeping tabs on him.