TAUNTON Town are “thoroughly in the title race”, says head of football Rob Dray ahead of their Easter weekend double-header.

The Peacocks are in second place, five points off leaders Weymouth, going into tomorrow’s match at Hendon and then a home game with Merthyr Town on Easter Monday (both ko 3pm).

Dray told the County Gazette: “They will be two very different games, one on a 3G pitch [at Hendon] and the other at home, so we might need to set up our team differently.

“But we have to take it one game at a time, as the result of the first game will set the next one up, and we can’t look too far ahead.

“It would be massive for us as a group to take it to the last week of the season.

“We are thoroughly in this title race, which is testament to the club and the players.”

Dray expects to name the same squad as last Saturday, with midfielder Ryan Brett set to play despite coming off early against Kings Langley, due to tendonitis in his knee.

The opposition

AFTER a fortnight of battling fellow promotion contenders, Taunton Town face two teams lower down the table this Easter weekend.

First up, it’s a trip to Hendon tomorrow, as the Peacocks head up the A303 and M3 to Silver Jubilee Park in North London.

Hendon had looked like promotion hopefuls early in the season, as they won eight of their first 12 games and drew 3-3 at the Viridor Stadium on August 25 – Ricardo German scoring all three for the Dons.

But then their form fell off a cliff; Hendon failed to win a league game between December 8 and February 16, and German departed for League Two side Crawley Town in January after 28 goals in 21 appearances.

Wins at Merthyr Town and Poole Town have kept their heads above water, though, as they occupy 17th place – five points clear of the dropzone.

Beaten 3-0 at Farnborough last Saturday, they’re not quite safe yet, and they’ll be keen to improve on a home record which has seen them win seven, draw four and lose eight in front of their own fans in the league this campaign.

Monday's opponents, Merthyr Town, are 13th in the table and safe from relegation (10 points clear with three games to go).

They made a fine start to 2019, beating Taunton 3-1 and Weymouth 2-1 at home.

But they’ve only won two league games since February 12 (one a 9-0 tonking of whipping boys Staines Town), losing seven times.

On Tuesday they drew 1-1 away to Beaconsfield Town, Ian Traylor scoring the visitors’ goal to take his league tally to 23 for the season.

The Martyrs’ last visit to the Viridor Stadium was in October 2017, when goals from Matt Wright and Ben Adelsbury knocked them out of the FA Trophy.