Wimbledon’s Olympic hockey star Richard Alexander says this weekend’s clash with East Grinstead will make or break the season.
Dons are fifth in the MHL Premier Division, two points outside the top four play-off berths, while East Grinstead sit third, six points ahead.
Despite last weekend’s 5-3 defeat at home to Canterbury – with goals from Johnny Kinder, Phillip Ball and Michael Hoare – bringing to an end a run of seven games unbeaten, the Dons have far exceeded their ambitions this season after winning promotion to the top flight for the first time last year.
Alexander, a former Team GB athlete, said: “Our aim for the season was just to stay up in this league to be honest.
“Many of our players had not played at the premier level before, but a lot of our younger players have stepped up and should soon be challenging for international honours.”
He added: “East Grinstead have consistently finished in the top three, so we know they are a strong side.
“We are going to put everything we have into it, because it is make or break.
“Win and we stay in the hunt for the top four, lose and a gap could open us between us and Surbiton in fourth.”
Last weekend’s blip against Canterbury left Alexander, who represented GB at the 2008 Olympics, frustrated.
He said: “In this league you get punished for that, but it’s frustrating as Canterbury were playing scrappy hockey without much structure, and their goals came from hopeful balls into the D, rather than clear cut chances.”