HEYBRIDGE Swifts have secured a play-off place against the odds.

Swifts boss Jody Brown feels few people would have picked them for a Ryman League division one north top-five finish back at the start of the year.

Former management team Mark Hawkes and Steve Smith left Scraley Road to join Skrill South Chelmsford City before Christmas.

This departure saw influential players Michael Cheek and Luke Callander follow their former bosses to Melbourne Park.

As well as this, a number of players left the club due to a reduction in the playing budget.

Brown, as new manager, then had to struggle with the new situation the club found itself in.

But a 2-1 win against title-chasing Witham Town on Saturday coupled with a 5-1 thrashing of AFC Sudbury on Easter Monday propelled them into third spot in the division and guarantee a play-off place.

Brown said: “With the amount of players that left and the rebuilding that had to be done, I don’t think anyone outside the club thought we could do it.

“We had budget cuts, players having to take wage cuts but also new players coming to us rather than to clubs that could pay them more.

“Everyone is working for next to nothing.

“So this is a real team effort at the club and everyone deserves a pat on the back.

“Step one is complete, it’s step two next and we just have to finish the job.”

Swifts now host Redbridge on Saturday looking to cement their third place position ahead of the play-off semi-finals.

Brown has been rotating his squad trying to keep his players fresh and it looks to have paid off.

He said: “There is plenty of competition for places now with all the players fit.

“Hopefully the rotation of the squad has paid off and gotten us through this busy period of games.

“It is a vindication of bringing in Guy and Bryan for Monday’s game as they got amongst the goals and long may it continue.

“And we will have to manage the players again because we have the game on Saturday and then a play-off game on Tuesday.

“We will look to rotate things again to keep the players fresh.

“A third place finish will be important because then we can have home advantage.

“The fans were great for the match against Witham last Saturday and they created an excellent atmosphere.

“And we would want that again in the play-off.

“But most importantly we want to win every game and finish as high as we can.

“Third place would be very impressive for the club given the upheaval we had.