Hereford United's Jamie Pitman has unique perspective on promotion and relegation clashes (From Hereford Times)
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Hereford United's Jamie Pitman has unique perspective on promotion and relegation clashes
HEREFORD United coach and former boss Jamie Pitman can offer a unique perspective on the pressure surrounding the Bulls’ ‘winner-takes-all’ games of the last 15 years.
The 35-year-old was not long out of his teens when he was an unused substitute as the Bulls were relegated from the Football League after failing to beat Brighton and Hove Albion in 1997.
And he then came off the bench to help United to gain promotion from the Conference at the Walkers Stadium in Leicester nine years later.
“There certainly seemed to be more pressure in the relegation game rather than in the play-off game,” he recalled.
“There was an air of confidence about us going into the play-off game. We knew that we were a decent side with some good players.
“With the relegation team, we were coming from a position of inconsistency over the course of the season; we had not won many games so you go into the game, maybe, with a little more fear.
“Then it is how you cope with that fear.
“You just have to show the mental strength to be able to cope with the pressure of it all.”
United’s excellent win at Crawley has, however, given Pitman the belief that they are coping with the stresses and strains of the relegation battle.
“With this team, the pressure was there last Saturday as it has been nearly all season and we certainly coped with it against Crawley who are a very tough side,” he said.
“You have to strive on the fear and turn it into a positive. Use that adrenaline.”
He also believes that United’s players have to forget about what may be going on at the Pirelli Stadium.
“There is nothing that we can do about the game between Burton and Barnet and that is what we have been telling the players,” he said.
“We cannot affect the outcome of that game, all we can affect is how well we perform and the way we play at the weekend.
“If we can control that then the rest of it comes down to fate or whatever you want to call it.”