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Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson has not given up hope of avoiding relegation

11 April 2014

By Tony Leighton

Yeovil Town are battling desperately to avoid relegation but they will fight to the end to save their 'Premier League' lives, says manager Gary Johnson.

The Glovers are of course in the Sky Bet Championship and sit rock bottom of the table as the end of the club's first ever season at this level draws near.

At times it has been a fraught campaign for the self-styled 'little old Yeovil' as they look to establish themselves in English football's second tier in what is only their 12th season as a Football League club.

But whether or not they survive, says Johnson, they have loved the ride.

The 58-year-old manager, who seven seasons ago led Bristol City to the Championship and then reached the Play-Off final 12 months later, told football-league.co.uk: "It's been difficult, but we've enjoyed the season in many ways.

"The Championship is Yeovil's Premier League and it's been great to compete in the division - in certain games we've more than matched very good teams.

"We've had some great results, but we haven't been able to get the consistency at this level to get up the table and that's why we're where we are.

"If we should end up getting relegated we will have enjoyed the experience and we'll be a stronger club for it, but we're not planning on going down and we'll be doing all we can to hang on in there."

Yeovil are six points adrift of safety and have just five games remaining, the first of them a mighty tough one on Saturday as they entertain a Bournemouth side who have won their last five outings - and eight of their last 10 - to put themselves in contention for a Play-Off place.

Johnson said: "Bournemouth are playing like a Premier League team at the moment, and if they get there they've got the sort of finances that we don't have here on a comparatively very small budget.

"Like a lot of clubs at the top end of the table they've got players on their subs' bench who cost lots of money and could step into the starting XI at any time.

"We've got a much smaller squad and have to put our strongest starting XI out week-in, week-out. If we have players missing then young kids have to come in but I reckon we've done pretty well over the season against the odds."

Against the odds, the Glovers have beaten teams in top half of the table such as Nottingham Forest and Watford and have also had away draws against leaders - and already promoted - Leicester City and sixth-placed Reading.

And with the four teams immediately above the relegation zone all within eight points of Johnson's men, the manager has not given up hope of survival.

"We'll need to win at least three of our last five games," he said.

"But there are clubs above us in free-fall and if they continue to drop points in the run-in we've got to try and put ourselves in a position to go past them."

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