Marauding left-back Joe Haines is in the form of his life right now, after two goals against Uttoxeter Town during the 9-0 demolition last Saturday, he and the team are on fire.

As the FA Vase second round game approaches, Haines spoke in the build-up to the big game about the team’s confidence but also stressed that the team must keep their feet on the ground.

We can’t afford to let up,” Haines said when asked about the teams good run of form. “Results like last weekend can only help us really, we have started the season really well. It’s a long Christmas period, so come January we will know where we stand.” When asked about the team’s ambitions he said: “We want to be up there at the end of the season, that’s our aim.”

The wider squad may well be called upon in the next few weeks, with the busy Christmas period, Haines was keen to stress that this would be a great chance for the wider squad to get games.

We’ve got a squad of 18-22 lads who are pulling in the right direction,” he stressed. “We need a squad if we want to challenge, with a lot of games coming up and the players who get their chance will have to take it.

Ahead of Saturday’s FA Vase second-round game against Highgate United, Haines revealed that the morale within the squad is one of excitement.

The squad is buzzing,” he said. “The lads are full of confidence, we are at home in front of our fans, which is when we feel we are strongest, let’s see how far we can go in the competition, we are keeping our feet firmly on the ground.”

Haines has been a consistent performer for City and is now contributing goals and assist to his game this season, at the age of 24, he feels this is one of the best periods of form he has been in, during his career so far.

“It’s one of my best so far,” Haines said when asked how good this season had been for him. “I think I’m being consistent and I’m enjoying my football, which is how you get the best out of me. The system suits my play-style as well, I feel fitter and sharper, I’m scoring goals too which helps!”.

Despite being just 24 years old, Haines admitted he feels like one of the older players. “I’m certainly one of the more experienced players, which at 24 sounds odd,” he said. “I know how to do well in this league, I’ve been through it all really, which can only help me in the long run. I feel I play better with responsibility. Watching some of the younger lads play is frightening, Max (Dixon) at 19 and Leighton (Mcmenemy) at 21, they’re both young players it’s scary the levels they could reach.”

Manager Ivor Green has been instrumental in the team’s fantastic start to the season and Haines was keen to heap praise on the manager for his openness.

“He’s very honest in a good way,” he began. “He wants us to play with confidence and he is so relaxed on the touchline, which helps us so much. I’ve played under a fair few managers and he’s up there for me as one of the best I’ve played for.”

Man-management is a crucial aspect of football management and Haines believes that’s what separates Green from the rest of the manager’s he’s played for. “He’s so approachable and that’s a big thing for players”, he admitted. “We all know his way of playing; he’s structured and open. He has time for everyone, you can ring him at any point during the day and he will pick up the phone and help you with whatever you need.”

Haines’ first spell for the club when he was 17, was during a period of difficulty for the club and is delighted to see the upward trajectory of the club at the moment. “It’s amazing to see,” he said. “More people are coming to watch us, the club was brought up from nothing. We get 150+ people in the ground every weekend. During my first spell, you’d be lucky to get more than 80 people.

The club is run by people who love Lichfield, who volunteer and help in their spare time. It’s a nice feeling to give back to the people who put so much into the club.”

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November 19, 2021
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