FC CLACTON manager Tom Austin hailed his in-form side after watching them maintain their proud unbeaten record throughout January.

After winning their first three Thurlow Nunn League fixtures of 2019, they fought back for a 2-2 draw against Whitton United at the Rush Green Bowl on Saturday.

Karl Andrade and Max Booth scored their goals and Austin says he would have jumped at the prospect of ten points from a possible 12, had it been offered at Christmas.

“I’d have bitten someone's hand off,” said the Clacton boss, who takes his side to Norfolk for a premier division clash at Wroxham this Saturday.

“It’s been a very good start to the year and now we want to keep this form going as long as possible, working hard to maintain our positive vibe.

“In addition to the points, we’ve only conceded three goals during the four games and that’s really pleasing, too.

“It’s down to having a settled back five, including keeper Joe Fowler.

“Lee (Clowsley) has slotted straight back in after his injury, Ollie (Lamb) and Zach (Smith-Walter) are both young players doing very well and Wayne (Chapman) has made a massive difference, having been missing over Christmas.

“There’s real cohesion between them and a great understanding.”

Austin knows his side face a tough challenge in this weekend’s match at sixth-placed Wroxham.

Ironically, the Yachtsmen were the last side to beat them – 3-1 at the Bowl on December 29.

He said: “We know it’ll be tough, although it was 1-1 until the 88th minute in our game against them just after Christmas.

“They’re a strong side with a couple of players who have played in the Football League. Simon Lappin played over 100 times for Norwich City.

“However, it’s a very competitive league this season – more so than in previous years – and teams like ourselves are very capable of taking points off those from the top-end of the table.

“For us, it’s about getting as many points on the board as possible and we know that if we win our games in hand, we’d only be a point behind eighth-place Brantham.

“It’s about setting new targets all the time.

“I challenged the players to remain unbeaten this month and they’ve managed that.

“Now it’s onto the next objective and I have a personal goal in terms of our final points tally.

“I want to keep it to myself for now but hopefully we can get there.”

Meanwhile, Austin confirmed that two of his players have turned down seven-day approaches in the last week.

Striker Adam Hampson rejected the chance to join Whitton while James Gregory declined an opportunity to move to Cornard United.

“We’ve had so many seven-day approaches this season,” added Austin.

“It’s a good reflection on us and shows we’re doing the right things.

“But we’re very glad the boys are choosing to stay with us because I’d hate to lose them.”