OLLIE Cherrett is vowing to silence his critics by steering Christchurch back into Sydenhams Wessex Premier – either this season or next.
Boss Cherrett and assistant Chris Hart have been trying to revive the club’s fortunes since being appointed in the wake of Priory losing their top-flight status two years ago.
Christchurch are just two points off the third and final automatic promotion spot in Wessex One with three games remaining – the first of which sees Tadley Calleva visit Hurn Bridge tomorrow (3pm).
Cherrett’s future was the subject of speculation recently when a five-match winless run checked their promotion push with rumours suggesting he could be fired if they failed to go up.
It prompted Priory chairperson Fiona Clements to speak out in support of Cherrett, insisting the club was fully behind him and Hart and that their positions were safe.
In response, Cherrett told the Daily Echo: “I am manager of Christchurch and Chris is my assistant unless someone tells us otherwise or we decide otherwise.
“Our main objective this season is to get promoted and we are still in with a shout. It is out of our hands but we are fully focused on that.
“There are always rumours and always people who want jobs. People like to have their say, especially the person who keeps popping up on the Echo forum, but that just spurs me on.
“We are both fully committed and are enjoying what we are doing. We could not have a better committee or chairperson. Flo has been very supportive. We have a great working relationship and long may it continue because the club is heading in the right direction.”
Cherrett and Hart took over in September 2015 following a disastrous start to last season and guided Christchurch to sixth place.
“Without being disrespectful, the playing side was an embarrassment when we took over,” said Cherrett. “It needed major surgery and we had to try to stabilize, which we did.
“We tried to build on it this season but have been unfortunate with injuries in key areas. If we don’t win our final three games, we won’t get promoted and, even then, that might not be enough.
“I am a winner and I want to get promoted. I played in the Southern League and would love to manage at that level as well.
“It is all about small steps and the next step is to get Christchurch back into Wessex Premier. We have two massive home games against Tadley and US Portsmouth and then a trip to the Isle of Wight on the final day to play East Cowes Vics.
“We have got to try to do our bit. If it is meant to be, we will get to where we want to. If not then we will rebuild, pick ourselves up and make sure it happens next season.”