Tuffley Rovers News
Final Chance Imminent For Rovers - 27 April
Mark Pritchett will complete a first season at the helm of Tuffley Rovers, as his side will take on Ardley United, at Wnatage Town, in Saturday’s Hellenic League, Bluefin Sport Supplementary Cup Final.
Win or lose this final tie, Pritchett will have every reason to look back on his debut season as a manager with pride, after guiding the club to a 10th place finish in the Hellenic Premier Division and to a cup final. However, the Rovers Player/Manager is focused on adding to the club’s honours list when the game kicks-off on Saturday afternoon.
“Having reached a cup final, and they don’t come around too often, for most players during their careers, we need to make the most of it”, said Pritchett. “We know we’ll have to be at our best, if we are to win, but we’re on a good run of form and we should be going into this game with confidence that we can record a win.”
The cup final, which will be played at the ground of Southern League side Wantage Town, sees Pritchett’s side take on Ardley United for the fifth time this season and he feels like the opportunity to take on a familiar foe will mean it is a close contest. “Ardley United are no strangers to us, after playing them four times this season, and although they’ve won three out of the previous four games, we can win this game”, he said. “They are a good side, and have had a great season, but each time we’ve played them it has been a tight and very close encounter, with little to separate the sides.”
Pritchett should have virtually a full-strength squad to select from, with only Shayne Bradley definitely absent, and hopes that the opportunity to field arguably his best team will mean that opponents, Ardley United, will meet a Rovers’ side capable of winning the contest. “We know we will have to be at our best to win the game, but our form coming into this game means the lads are full of confidence”, Pritchett confirmed.
Ardley United finished the season well, securing a fifth place finish in the Premier Division, but Pritchett believes this might suit his side. “We’ve already proved, on plenty of occasions, that we can mix it with the best sides – the ‘big boys’ – in this division and so we just need to produce one more excellent performance and that could be enough to earn some silverware”, he added.
The Rovers’ Manager will face a few tough decisions before the final, as he has to decide whether he will play himself; if his Assistant, Shayne Anson, will also feature alongside him; and which players to omit from the final squad…all things that will be new to him in a fledgling season.
Pritchett acknowledges the difficult decisions that lie ahead but was also quick to recognise the benefits of having strength in depth. “We’ve had a good season, where plenty of players have made a really terrific contribution, and to top it off with a trophy would be an excellent achievement by everyone involved in the first team, as well as a number of people who work behind the scenes at the club”, he added.
The most difficult decisions for Pritchett, aside from the status of Anson and himself, will be which players to omit from the squad; a task made particularly difficult by the return to fitness of Brett James and Liam Wright, as well as the emergence of a number of young players in the latter half of the season.
Squad: Dave Evans; Kane Winman; Shayne Anson; Sam Hill; Marcus Foxwell; Tristan Haswell; Macaulay Herbert; Ben Tunnicliff; Mark Pritchett; Jack Overthrow; Liam Wright; Courtney Hamilton; Jake Burns; Will Tunnicliff; Brett James; Warren Mann; Jamie Goodwin; Ryan Dobbins; Harry Walker.
Famous Five Games For Rovers & Ardley - 24 April
After Ardley United overcame the challenge from tenants Bicester Town on Saturday, Tuffley Rovers now know the challenge they will face in the Hellenic League, Bluefin Sports Supplementary Cup Final on Saturday, 29 April.
The Oxfordshire side won their semi-final 3-0, just two days after Rovers had completed a penalty shoot-out victory in their last-four game, to set-up the final tie at Wantage Town this Saturday. There might be a feeling that the line-up for this season’s final was something of an inevitability, given that Rovers and Ardley will be meeting for the fifth time this season…and for the fourth time in cup football over the past two seasons! The two clubs followed up last season’s FA Cup fixture, with ties in the FA Vase and another FA Cup meeting this season, and Rovers’ Secretary, Neil Spiller, confirmed that a light-hearted prediction, in February, now seems fairly prescient. “When we played Ardley United on 18 February, which was our fourth meeting of the season, I jokingly told Norman Stacey, their Chairman, that we’d see them in the Supplementary Cup Final”, Spiller said. “I didn’t necessarily believe it, but we’ve met them so many times over the past two years that it started to feel like something destined to happen.”
The first meeting of the season saw Rovers lose their FA Cup Extra-Preliminary Round tie at Ardley, before they gained revenge in the FA Vase in September. Ardley had the upper-hand in the league, completing a double, with 2-0 and 1-0 score lines in their favour, so might be considered favourites when the sides meet in a weeks’ time. However, Rovers end of season form - which saw five wins, in all competitions and then the penalty shoot-out win over Fairford Town, in the semi-final - means they will go into the cup final in confident mood, although they face an Ardley United side who have recorded wins in eight of their last nine competitive fixtures.
Manager, Mark Pritchett, has named his provisional squad for the final, and has included Brett James and Liam Wright, who have both recently returned from long-term injuries, ahead of schedule, in the squad. Only Shayne Bradley is definitely confirmed as being unavailable for the game.
Squad: Dave Evans; Kane Winman; Shayne Anson; Sam Hill; Marcus Foxwell; Tristan Haswell; Macaulay Herbert; Ben Tunnicliff; Mark Pritchett; Jack Overthrow; Liam Wright; Courtney Hamilton; Jake Burns; Will Tunnicliff; Brett James; Warren Mann; Jamie Goodwin; Ryan Dobbins; Harry Walker.
Rovers are arranging travel for supporters who want to attend the final and anyone interested should contact the club via firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Rovers Looking To Supplement Good League Season - 20 April
After a season that ended on a run of five consecutive league and cup victories and a tenth place finish in the Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division, Tuffley Rovers go into their Bluefin Sport Supplementary Cup semi-final, against Fairford Town tonight, in confident mood.
Rovers’ fourth game in eight days sees them facing this season’s Division One (West) Champions, who have experienced similar fixture congestion at the end of their season. Despite the flurry of games, both sides have won their previous three games, so it is a clash between two form sides, fighting for a place in this season’s final.
After their most recent victory over Highmoor Ibis, on Monday, Rovers will welcome Will Tunnicliff, Jack Overthrow and Player/Manager Mark Pritchett back into the squad, although Jake Burns is likely to miss out, due to work commitments, and Ryan Dobbins’ participation is in doubt. Dobbins’ absence would be particularly disappointing for Rovers, given the run of goalscoring form he has shown since his recall to the side in the competition quarter-final, seven days ago. Otherwise, Shayne Bradley’s hand injury, sustained against Thame United, has ruled him out for the season, and Brett James, who was an unused substitute against Ibis, after months out with a knee injury, is unlikely to be involved, although he remains an option.
After an excellent first league season, Pritchett is looking forward to the opportunity to progress to a cup final at the end of his debut campaign as Rovers’ manager. “To finish the season in tenth place, with fifty points, is a great achievement for the boys and this semi-final is a nice little bonus for us”, he said. “We know we’ll be up against it, as they are champions of their league and have a County Cup final to look forward to”, Pritchett continued. “We will have to be at our best if we are going to progress to the final, but I believe we can make that final step.”
The game will kick-off at 7:45pm at Glevum Park. Admission is £4 (£2 concessions) and U16s get free admission.
Tuffley Rovers...to Tuffley Rovers (via Old Trafford) - 18 April
One of the match officials for Tuffley Rovers' home match against Highmoor Ibis yesterday will probably be a familiar face to regular supporters at Glevum Park, but there is a little more to the story.
Andy Davies has been a match official since 1971. He was one of the assistant referees at the Bank Holiday Monday game on the 46th anniversary of his first game, which was, somewhat incredibly, a fixture involving Tuffley Rovers. Andy turned to officiating in April 1971, with his debut a Rovers game against The Herd, who later became Cirencester United (until they were dissolved in 2009). That game preceded, by about 10 years, Rovers' move to Glevum Park and was played on the nearby Beaufort Playing Fields, where the club's thirds, fourths and fifths now play their home games.
In an age where 'respect' for match officials is high on the Football Association agenda, Andy is someone who is among the most well regarded officials in the local area, regularly running the line in Uhlsport Hellenic League fixtures.
The Hellenic League's chief executive, Brian King was glowing in his praise for the Gloucester based referee. "I have known Andy for almost 30 of the years he has been a referee," King said. "He has always been able and ready to go anywhere, often at short notice. As with most referees' the aspiration for Andy was to get to the pinnacle as a referee and he can claim to have refereed at some of the leading grounds in what was the 'old – Central League. Hopefully he can complete another four seasons that will make it 50 years' service, which would be an amazing achievement".
Official, Pete Cobby, who now organises match officials for the League, was equally effusive in his praise for Davies' service to football. "Andy tends to get on with his job of officiating properly and very well and is very good at seeing through the façade put up by some more senior (in terms of refereeing level) officials," Cobby said, "He always gives 100 per cent and is not one to openly criticise his referee colleagues. Andy made the middle of the Southern League and has seen action at top grounds, including officiating at Old Trafford. "He has a wealth of experience and he always ensures it is brought into use in whichever game he is involved in."
Andy has kept a record of every game he has officiated since that first outing at Beaufort Playing Fields in Tuffley, and is able to confirm every match he has been appointed to, as either a referee or Assistant, since that time. The total number of games now exceeds 2,300 and he has been involved in over 100 Tuffley Rovers fixtures, at all levels of the game, in his 46 years.
If Andy does eventually complete 50 years of officiating, there is a good chance he could potentially officiate at a Tuffley Rovers fixture on April 17 2021, given that he'll reach that landmark on a Saturday afternoon! That game in 1971 ended in a 3-2 defeat for Rovers. Let's hope today's game ends in slightly better fashion.
"Thanks, Andy, a great official and a good bloke," said Rovers spokesman Neil Spiller.
Ibis Booked For Bank Holiday Visit - 16 April
As Mark Pritchett's first season as Tuffley Rovers manager draws to a close, his side will play their final league game tomorrow, knowing that whilst they cannot move from tenth place in the league, a fifth consecutive win will take them to 50 points for the season.
Rovers will welcome Highmoor Ibis to Glevum Park for a 3pm kick-off, their penultimate home game of the season, with only a cup semi-final, against Fairford Town on Thursday, to follow.
The visitors arrive at Rovers ground fourteenth in the table but having been beaten only three times since the start of March, although all three defeats were against Gloucestershire sides, as they went down against Brimscombe & Thrupp twice and against Longlevens.
Since Rovers returned to the Hellenic League, Premier Division at the start of the 2015/16 season they have beaten Highmoor Ibis once, and they lost 2-0 at home when the teams met on the Easter weekend last season. A 2-2 draw earlier this season means that the two sides each have a win, a draw and a loss from their previous three meetings.
Pritchett is keen to see his side finish the season well, particularly as his squad are also preparing for their semi-final in four days’ time.
"We are in a good run of form but Ibis will be tough opponents and we will need to play well if we want to finish our league season with a win", he said. "I need to make sure the players are focused on Monday's game, so that we prepare well for our semi-final later this week."
Rovers captain and regular keeper, Dave Evans, picked up an ankle knock on Saturday and may be rested for the visit of Highmoor Ibis, so young Reserves' keeper Kane Winman has been added to the squad. Ben Tunnicliff will return, after work commitments ruled him out of the last two games, but Shayne Bradley, Brett James and Sam Hill will all be absent again.
Free Admission At Tuffley - 14 April
In light of the number of home games in quick succession, Rovers are offering free admission to all supporters for Saturday’s game against Burnham, which kicks-off at 3pm. They will instead be collecting donations to local charity, The James Hopkins Trust.
Having recorded three consecutive victories in the past two weeks, Tuffley Rovers go into a busy Bank Holiday weekend knowing that two good results will go a long way to securing a top ten finish in the league, as well as having a significant bearing on the fortunes of at least one opponent.
Burnham FC will visit Glevum Park tomorrow, knowing that anything but a win against Rovers will consign them to finishing in seventeenth place and at risk of a third successive relegation for a side playing Southern League, Premier Division football as recently as 2015.
Having started the season as the Hellenic League, Premier Division's whipping boys, with a series of heavy defeats, including an 11-0 reverse against Thatcham Town, Burnham parted company with their manager, former professional David Tuttle, before a series of high profile managers took charge, including former Watford players Luther Blissett and Gifton Noel-Williams, in short-term appointments that failed to arrest a continuing decline in fortunes.
The appointment of joint management team Mark Betts and Jon Palmer in January has seen an upturn in form - including taking four points from the last six - and a victory over Rovers would see them climb to sixteenth, if Ascot United can beat Oxford City Nomads.
However, Rovers' boss, Mark Pritchett is in no mood to see his side's form slip after a late season resurgence that has seen them pick up some much needed league points and book a place in the Supplementary Cup semi-final.
"We want to finish as high as we can and if results go our way, we could make ninth", he said. "The victory over Thame United was a fantastic team performance and it has put us in great spirits ahead of a busy weekend."
A win on Saturday would take Rovers into tenth place, with the opportunity to climb to ninth, with a win on Monday, as long as fellow Gloucestershire side Lydney Town don't secure three points on Saturday; otherwise, a win will simply confirm a tenth place finish.
Shayne Anson is available for selection again, after serving a suspension against Thame, but Shayne Bradley and Brett James are ruled out with injury. Liam Wright made the bench against Thame, despite previously being ruled out for the season after sustaining a shoulder injury, and he may be in line for a recall.
Pritchett's Hope For Extended Cup Run - 13 April
Tuffley Rovers face a huge test this evening, if they are to maintain their hopes of silverware this season and also extend their season past the coming Bank Holiday weekend.
Following their victory over Aston Clinton Development, on Saturday afternoon, Rovers will host league champions Thame United at Glevum Park tonight, in the quarter-final of the Bluefin Sport Supplementary Cup.
Mark Pritchett's side go into the game with renewed confidence, following two consecutive victories, but having already played and lost against Thame twice this season, the Rovers manager knows a tough challenge lies ahead.
"It would be great if we can progress in this competition, but Thame United are a good side and we'll need to play well to get a result", he said. "We were poor when we visited them in December, but pushed them all the way when we met three weeks ago."
With a long season drawing to a close, Pritchett has nowhere near a full squad to select from, with Brett James, Shayne Anson, Liam Wright, Shayne Bradley and Sam Hill all definitely out, with a fitness doubt potentially affecting Marcus Foxwell's availability. Despite all this concerns, Pritchett remains in a confident mood. "We've put in some of our best displays against the top sides this year, so if we do it again, we have to believe that we can progress to the semi-final, and hopefully further."
Aston Test After Ascot Win - 6 April
Tuffley Rovers will be looking to build on their return to winning ways last weekend, when they defeated Ascot United 1-0 for a first league win since 7 January, as they welcome Uhlsport Hellenic League, Division Two (East) side, Aston Clinton (Development) to Glevum Park this Saturday, in the Blufinsport Supplementary Cup.
This weekend's opposition are effectively the reserve squad for Aston Clinton, a club based in a small village (not that small, population 3,542) near Aylesbury, with the first team playing the Spartan South Midlands League, Division Two. Although Rovers' Player/Manager, Mark Pritchett, who scored the winner against Ascot, knows very little about Aston Clinton, he is taking nothing for granted, despite the inevitable 'favourites' tag that his squad will have, against a side who could be considered 'minnows'.
"We don't know much about Aston Clinton, but were expecting a young, hardworking side, which is what Development squads often offer", he said. "Hopefully we can build on our return to winning ways last week and put ourselves in the quarter final, but we know we’ll need to put in a performance if we want to progress."
After a fairly barren run, where Rovers failed to collect points from a number of mixed performances, Pritchett reflected on Saturday's win and hopes it can be the platform for a good end to the season. "It was good to get three points last week and it felt like they were long overdue. I was happy to get a goal, but the most important thing, for me, was the clean sheet - we just haven't kept enough of those in the second half of the season. If we can start taking our chances and shut out teams regularly, we've got every chance of finishing in the top half of the table and making good progress in the cup."
Liam Wright and Brett James remain unavailable, due to long-term injuries, and full-back Sam Hill will definitely miss the game, whilst Shayne Bradley's hamstring might need to be rested, after he came off against Ascot United. Pritchett hopes to welcome Marcus Foxwell and Will Tunnicliff back into the squad, as his side look to secure a quarter-final tie against Thame United.
Miserable Run Of Form - 31 March
Following a miserable run of form, Tuffley Rovers will be hoping it is a case of getting ‘back to the races’, when Ascot United visit Glevum Park on Saturday.
Rovers suffered a fourth consecutive defeat on Wednesday evening, courtesy of a second-half capitulation at Brackley Town Saints, and after being on the end of 6-3 reverse when they met Ascot United back in mid-September, they will be keen to recover their form, as they mount a final attempt to seize a place in the top eight of the Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division.
Manager, Mark Pritchett, will take the majority of those involved in the midweek defeat into the game, with midfielder Jake Burns likely to return to an otherwise unchanged squad, save for the withdrawal of Joel White, who will return to playing for Frampton United after a guest appearance at Brackley.
Despite the poor run of form, in recent weeks, Pritchett is looking to avenge the thumping Ascot dished out when they previously met. “I’ve been so disappointed with the run we’ve been on lately and the second-half performance on Wednesday has been particularly hard to accept”, he said. “When we’ve absolutely dominated a game for 45 minutes, it is hard to accept a second-half where we fell apart”.
Pritchett pointed to his side’s tendency to start games well, without always converting the chances that came their way, as an area of concern. “We’ve missed a hatful of chances when we were on top at Brackley and then produced a second-half performance that just wasn’t good enough. We’ve been very competitive throughout the season but lately we’ve developed a habit of losing concentration when we come out for the second period and conceding some very soft and completely avoidable goals”, Pritchett added.
Pritchett still has an eye on eighth place in the table, despite the recent run of results and knows that his side will need results in their final three league games. “Wednesday’s result makes this an even bigger game and we will be doing everything we can to get the three points. We owe Ascot United a performance, after we put in a very poor display when we visited them.”
Hope Of A Return To Winning Ways - 29 March
After a run without a league win stretching back to 7 January, Tuffley Rovers will continue their quest for a top eight placed finish in the Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division tonight, with a trip to face the last side they beat, Brackley Town Saints.
Rovers make the 130-mile round trip to Brackley's St James Park, hoping to see an upturn in their fortunes, after a winless run that stretches back six matches, since a Warren Mann hat-trick and a brace from Jamie Goodwin helped them record a 5-0 victory.
After an agonising last minute defeat at third placed Flackwell Heath on Saturday, Rovers go into the game with manager Mark Pritchett having experienced mixed emotions over the 3-2 reverse. "I'm glad we've got this midweek game, as it gives us chance to bounce back straightaway from the disappointment of Saturday, when we were absolutely gutted to lose the way we did", Pritchett said. "I can't fault any of the players who played on Saturday, as they all put a big shift in and we almost recorded a brilliant win", he confirmed.
Despite a long midweek journey, Pritchett his able to welcome back several players who were unavailable on Saturday, with Dave Evans, Jack Overthrow and Harry Walker all returning, whilst Frampton United player Joel White has signed on a dual registration basis. Only Jake Burns is definitely missing from the squad that lost at the weekend, so Pritchett is optimistic that Rovers can get back on track, in their quest for a highest league position since 2002. "We haven't won a league game since we played Brackley last time, so we will be looking for maximum points and hoping we can put a little run together until the end of the season", he added.
The game will be Rovers’ last Away league fixture of this season, before they play all their last three games at home, starting with the visit of Ascot United on Saturday, 1 April (3pm).
Rovers Task To Gain League Points - 24 March
Following a narrow midweek defeat, at home to Champions elect, Thame United, Tuffley Rovers face another tough test of their Premier Division top-half aspirations on Saturday, as they make the 154 mile round-trip to face current third place side Flackwell Heath.
After 2017 started with something of a hiatus of fixtures for Rovers, the games are now coming thick and fast, as Mark Pritchett's side look to lift themselves back into the top half of the table, after their league campaign has stuttered since the turn of the year.
Flackwell Heath won the title two seasons ago and will provide stiff opposition, although Rovers ran out comfortable winners, by 4 goals to nil, when the sides met at Glevum Park earlier this season. Their form has been markedly better against the top sides in the division, something which Pritchett hopes will continue on Saturday. "We've proved this season that we can mix it with the big boys, when we're on it and we were desperately unlucky on Tuesday night, pushing champions elect Thame all the way. They're top of the league for a reason and they have two strikers who have 60 goals between them which is a managers dream!", he said.
Pritchett knows that his team put in a stellar performance, one of their best of the season, when beating this Saturday's hosts 4-0 but he hopes for a repeat of that this weekend. "We were brilliant last time out against Flackwell and we know we will have to show the same attitude and commitment as we did Tuesday to get something from the game. We have five games left and we're in the last sixteen of the Supplementary Cup, so I'm hoping the boys can finish the season well, as we can still potentially finish 8th in the league, which I think would be a great achievement in our first season together."
If the club are to achieve Pritchett's aim of 8th place, which would be their highest league position since 2002, they will need to be in good form.
One player who has come into form is former Cheltenham Town youngster, Jamie Goodwin, who has scored nine goals this season, with five coming in the last four games, or seven in the last seven, after a barren spell between October and the first week of January.
With Liam Wright joining Brett James in being ruled out for the season, Jack Overthrow unavailable and Harry Walker selected for the County U18 squad, Pritchett will be pleased to welcome Jake Burns back into an otherwise full squad this weekend.
Rovers Out To Tame Thame - 20 March
The Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division’s current league leaders visit Tuffley Rovers on Tuesday evening, with Mark Pritchett’s side looking to play a pivotal role in this season’s title campaign.
Thame United will come to Glevum Park locked in a battle with Bracknell Town, holding a two point lead over their rivals, who have a game in hand. Rovers were the last team to beat Bracknell Town, way back in November, and Tuesday’s game will give them another opportunity to show their ability to perform against the division’s top sides.
“We are usually better when we are the underdogs and we’ve had some great results against the top sides in the league”, Pritchett said. “Tuesday is a massive game for Thame, who are flying high in the league, but we’ll be looking to have a say in this title race.”
Pritchett knows his side will need to be in better form than their last meeting with Thame, when they visited Meadow View Park and returned on the end of a 4-0 defeat, and he is optimistic that his side can rise to the challenge. “We were very poor against them last time out, conceding an early goal and then never really finding our way in the game, but we’ll be doing everything we can to put that right”, he said.
Pritchett will welcome his captain, Dave Evans, back into the squad for the game, after the keeper missed last week’s win at Abingdon United, but Liam Wright might well be out for the rest of the season, having injured his shoulder during the same game, and it is unlikely that Ashley Davies or Will Tunnicliff will be available to feature.
Last Chance Of Silverware - 14 March
After an incredibly disappointing performance and result at the weekend, when a combination of wasted chances and poor defending cost them dearly, Tuffley Rovers have a chance to bounce back to form when they visit Hellenic League, Division One (West) side Abingdon United tonight.
The Bluefin Sport Supplementary Cup tie, at United's home, The Northcourt, will see Rovers take on a side relegated from the Premier Division last season, in a competition that represents the Glevum Park outfit's last opportunity for silverware this season.
A place in the last sixteen awaits the winners of the tie and Rovers' Manager, Mark Pritchett, will be taking a slightly depleted squad to Oxfordshire, with Shayne Bradley and Harry Walker injured, Shayne Anson only fit enough for a place on the bench, Ashley Davies and Jake Burns unavailable for selection.
Pritchett may be forced to take some youngsters from the club's reserve team, to provide cover on the bench, although the second team squad have a game of their own, travelling to face Harrow Hill in the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League.
Pritchett’s Men Return To Action - 8 March
After a stop/start opening two months of 2017, Mark Pritchett’s Tuffley Rovers will finally get back into regular competitive action, from Saturday, starting with the visit of Oxford City Nomads to Glevum Park.
Having played just four competitive games since the turn of the year, Rovers’ boss, Pritchett, will hope that the visit of Nomads, three days before a cup tie at Abingdon United, will present the opportunity to mount of final push into the top third of the Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division table.
Inactive since their draw with Binfield on 25 February, Rovers welcome struggling Nomads to Glevum Park with Pritchett (pictured) hoping to exact a little revenge for a poor result when the two sides met in September. On that occasion, the Rovers boss had to go in goal, due to injuries an unavailability amongst the club’s keepers, and his side did little to protect their stand-in keeper, as they put in a poor display, before succumbing to a 3-2 defeat.
Pritchett is conscious, however, that his side will need to re-familiarise themselves with competitive football if they are to secure a positive result. “It has been a bit of a nightmare start to 2017, to be honest”, said Pritchett. “We’ve only played four times since the New Year, when we were on a good run, and the lack of game time means it has been really hard to get any momentum going. It seems to be that we go weeks without a game, then have one game, before another week without a game. I accept that is just the way it is, and we have to get on with it, but it is a frustrating way for our season to progress.”
With the Oxford City Nomads game kicking-off a run of regular matches, Pritchett sees an opportunity for his side to get back to the form they showed in December, when they secured some valuable points. “It will be good to get back into a run of games, starting with today’s fixture and I’m hoping for a better day than when we visited Oxford City Nomads earlier in the season – I ended up having to play in goal and a poor performance generally meant we lost 3-2. Here is hoping for a better performance and a little revenge this weekend!”, he confirmed.
Nomads come into the game sitting 16th of 18 in the league table, and with just seven points from their last nine games, they are in danger of falling into one of two relegation places.
Rovers Look To Get Back To Winning Ways - 23 February
After their long overdue return to Hellenic League, Premier Division action last weekend ended in defeat, Tuffley Rovers will be looking to return to winning ways, when they welcome Binfield FC to Glevum Park this Saturday.
The visit to Ardley United last week was Rovers’ first action since their defeat at Bracknell Town on 14 January and although the game ended in defeat, against one of the most in-form Premier Division sides, Rovers’ Manager, Mark Pritchett, is far from downhearted as he looks forward to the visit of a Binfield side who sit seventh in the table, two places above Rovers. “We knew that the visit to Ardley was going to be a challenge and it was a scrappy game, with no great football played, that was decided by a single goal, from one of very few decent chances”, he said. “Despite the defeat, I was pleased with the effort and we battled through the game, which was a positive, given that we hadn’t played for over a month”.
Shayne Bradley and Jamie Goodwin both missed the defeat at Ardley but should return to the squad this week, giving Pritchett almost a full complement of players to select from, although he confirmed long-term absentee, Brett James, is unlikely to feature again this season, as he awaits a scan on the knee injury that has kept him out since mid-November. Liam Wright will face a late fitness test but hopes to be involved.
Binfield come into the game five points clear of Pritchett’s side, but having played four games more, and will undoubtedly be looking to avenge the 2-1 defeat Rovers recorded at the end of August, when Bradley netted a brace of goals to win the game. Although Roger Herridge’s side have suffered three defeats in their last five league games, two of those have come at the hands of the sides battling for the Premier Division title – Thame United and Bracknell Town – and Binfield trounced Rovers’ local rivals, Longlevens, 5-0, when the two sides met three weeks ago.
When Saturday (Finally) Comes - 18 February
After four Saturdays without a game, Tuffley Rovers return to league action toady, as they travel to play Ardley United....for the fourth time this season!
Mark Pritchett's side have been without a fixture since losing to Bracknell Town almost 35 days ago and although some players have managed to keep up their fitness levels playing for the club's other four sides, a return to action against one of the division's form sides and a familiar foe promises to be a significant challenge.
Early season meetings in the FA Cup and FA Vase competitions, which saw one win apiece, were followed by a 2-0 defeat for The Rovers when Ardley visited Glevum Park on 10 December, but all of the games have been competitive affairs, and Pritchett is anticipating that this weekend's game will be no different.
"We know this is going to be a tough game, as Ardley United have been in good form, but if we can show the form that we demonstrated in the last four games we played, they won't look forward to playing us", he said.
Since Rovers last played, Ardley United have been in good form, with seven wins in nine games since the win at Glevum Park, with four consecutive victories, in league and cup competitions, as they head into Saturday's game. "Ardley are probably one of the form sides in the division, so we know we are going to be up against it, but we are capable of beating them, as we've proven already, so this is another chance to show what we are capable of", Pritchett confirmed.
The break has helped ensure that Rovers resume league action with a relatively clean bill of health and with the squad free of suspension, meaning Pritchett has a strong squad to select from, with only Shayne Bradley and Jamie Goodwin ruled out of the game this weekend.
Pritchett Anticipating A Tough Test - 20 January
After ending 2016, then starting 2017 in terrific form, Tuffley Rovers’ manager, Mark Pritchett, will be looking to see his side respond in positive fashion, after their defeat to much-fancied league leaders Bracknell Town last week.
Rovers succumbed to a 3-0 defeat when they visited Larges Lane on Saturday but Pritchett had no complaints about the result or the effort his side put in, simply accepting that the quality in the Bracknell Town squad was simply too much for his team on the day. He was also pleased that Mark Tallentire, the experienced Bracknell manager, had plenty of positive feedback for the Rovers squad.
“Mark said he felt that we were one of the best sides in the league this year and it is always good to hear that sort of feedback, even when we’ve suffered a defeat. We were the last team to beat Bracknell and they’ve won fourteen consecutive games since then”, Pritchett observed.
Pritchett is expecting another tough test this weekend, as Highmoor Ibis visit Glevum Park, and he believes their relatively low league position (14th) is not necessarily a reflection of the quality they have. “When we played Highmoor Ibis away, earlier in the season, we had a really tough game and rode our luck a little. I thought we were a little fortunate to come away with a draw on that occasion”, he said.
The Bracknell result aside, Pritchett’s charges have been in good form and he will be delighted to have a nearly full squad to select from this week, with Liam Wright and Pritchett himself available after serving suspensions; only Brett James and Macaulay Herbert are definitely ruled out of Saturday’s game.
Bracknell Challenge Awaits - 12 January
With his side having picked up 10 points from the last four Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division, Mark Pritchett will be hoping this weekend’s visit to title favourites – and second place side – Bracknell Town will see a continuation of Tuffley Rovers’ fantastic recent form.
The trip to Bracknell will see Rovers play on their hosts’ new 3G pitch and Pritchett is very much looking forward to the challenge that awaits.
“We are on a good run of form at the moment and we will be looking to continue that pattern this weekend. Bracknell Town have been on a great run of form but we’ve proved we can compete with the best sides in this division and I think we were the last side to beat them, when they came to Glevum Park at the start of November”, Pritchett confirmed.
Pritchett is acutely aware that one of the division’s fancied sides will be looking to exact an element of revenge, following Rovers’ 2-1 win back two months ago, and he is targeting a solid defensive display as the foundation for any potential success.
“They’ll be looking to continue their quest for the Premier Division title and also a little revenge for the win we achieved a little while back. We will need to defend well, as we did last time out, as their front two already have over 50 goals between them this season.”
Aside from Liam Wright (suspension) and Brett James (injured), Pritchett will have a pretty much full strength squad to select from, as his side visits Larges Lane, looking to consolidate their recent form and place in the top seven of the division.
Saints Come Marching In To Glevum Park - 6 January
Tuffley Rovers’ Manager, Mark Pritchett, saw his side end 2016 on a high, with seven points from three challenging games in the closing two weeks, and he’s looking for an increasingly strong squad to continue that form into 2017.
After a succession of injuries and suspensions left the Rovers boss with a depleted squad for much of the last two months, the form of a number of new first team players, along with the return of some more experienced figures, means that the Glevum Park side will go into this weekend’s game, when they host strugglers Brackley Town Saints, with a much stronger squad than has been available recently.
Three players are still looking to recover from long-term injuries but that is a healthier position that Pritchett has been used to for some time. “After a couple of months where we’ve been struggling to field a consistent starting line-up, due to injuries and suspensions, we are starting to look stronger and I’ll have plenty of options for this weekend”, Pritchett confirmed. "We’re still missing three important players in Shayne Bradley, Brett James and Macaulay Herbert, who are all still injured, but I’ve been lucky to add some quality to the squad and some younger players had a chance to show what they are capable of”.
Pritchett has recently added Jake Burns, son of former professional and Gloucester City manager Chris Burns, to his number and has been particularly impressed with his contribution to the wins over Longevens and Highworth. “Jake has made a great start and adds some creativity in midfield, alongside a terrific work ethic. He’s fitted in exceptionally well but all the lads called up have made an excellent contribution and for the first time in a while, I’ll probably have a bit of a selection headache”.
Brackley Town Saints are a development side for parent team National League (North) side, Brackley Town, and currently sit 15th out of 18 teams in the Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division. Despite their realtively lowly league position, Pritchett is warning his squad that they’ll need to be on their mettle. “We need to maintain the form shown in the last three games. Highworth Town had some very experienced lads in their side but we looked solid in defence and kept our shape, as well as our discipline. Although we haven’t played them this season, Brackley Town Saints will present a different challenge. From what I know, they’re a young side, full of energy, who like to pass the ball. If we don’t put in the same level of performance, they will cause us plenty of problems”, he warned.
Rovers Look To End The Year On A High - 29 December
Having put in excellent performances in their last two Uhlsport Hellenic League fixtures, Tuffley Rovers head into the final game of the 2016 calendar year, knowing that opponents Highworth Town will present one of the most difficult challenges they could face if they are to close the year in style.
Saturday’s, New Year’s Eve visit to The Elms, for a 3pm kick-off, will see Rovers take on a high-flying opponent, on a run of nine consecutive league victories, with their last defeat in mid-October. With Jeff Roberts’ Highworth squad having the added incentive of the opportunity to avenge a 2-1 defeat against Mark Pritchett’s side, on the opening day of the season, it promises to be a game when Rovers will need to be at their best.
Pritchett recalled the August victory fondly but knows that will count for nothing when the two sides meet this weekend. “We were excellent against Highworth at the start of the season and it was brilliant to start out as manager with a win against one of the fancied teams in the division”, he said. “Their results have been excellent over the past couple of months, so we need to put in another good performance, if we are to come away with anything.”
After a creditable draw at another of the division’s fancied clubs, Thatcham Town, on the Saturday before Christmas, which was followed by the Boxing Day win at home to Longlevens, a victory which ensured Pritchett’s side surpassed their points total for the 2015/16 season, Rovers head into their trip to Highworth in good form and in good spirits.
“We’ve had a really good feeling amongst the squad and even if our performances have been a little up and down, at times, the lads keep working hard for each other, which is all I can ask”, Pritchett added.
Shayne Bradley missed the win over Longlevens and is struggling to be fit for Saturday, whilst Brett James is still absent with a long-term knee injury. Ashely Davies serves a one-match suspension, having picked up a fifth caution of the season against Thatcham Town. Despite the list of absentees, Pritchett should be able to welcome back keeper Dave Evans, after the promising Kane Winman deputised in the Boxing Day win.
Big Boxing Day For Rovers & Levens - 22 December
Glevum Park will host the latest ‘El Glossico’ fixture on Boxing Day, with Tuffley Rovers hosting their closest rivals, Longlevens, in a 12noon kick-off, as the sides lock meet in a festive Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division game.
The two sides, separated by five miles and four points, will meet for the fourth time in the Premier Division, with Longlevens having recorded two wins and Rovers one since both sides were promoted at the end of the 2014/15 season. Both sides have experienced mixed form in the league this year, sitting in eight place and twelfth, respectively, but form is unlikely to be a hugely influential factor as the sides managed by Mark Pritchett and James French lock horns for the second time this season.
Rovers won the first meeting this season 3-0, in September, when goals from Ashley Davies, Brett James and Jack Overthrow took Pritchett’s side to a deserved victory and the Rovers’ manager reflected on that day with pride, whilst he looks forward to the local derby in a positive light. “I have some good friends at Longlevens and it will be a good chance to meet up, hopefully sharing a festive drink after the game”, he said. “When we last met, we thoroughly deserved our win and I just think we wanted it more on the night; every player was fantastic and we’ll need to repeat that performance, if we want to win again.”
Rovers will be without two of their scorers in the last meeting, as Davies is away over the Christmas period and James is recovering from a long-term injury, but Overthrow and midfielder Courtney Hamilton should return after missing the creditable draw at Thatcham Town. The only other potential absentee is Shayne Bradley, so Pritchett will have a number of options available, as he looks to record a league double over the Longlevens for the first time since the 2011/12 season.
Levens come into the game on a run of four games without a win but form will count for little when the players take to the field in the early kick-off on Monday.
Tough Test At Thatcham Awaits - 16 December
After a series of fixtures against the Uhlsport Hellenic League’s form sides, Mark Pritchett’s Tuffley Rovers squad will face Thatcham Town on Saturday, knowing that they will need a return to their best form, not only to return to winning ways, but also to take points against a side whom they have a miserable record against.
Since their return to the Premier Division at the start of the 2015/16 season, Rovers have lost to Thatcham Town in all four meetings between the clubs – three in the league and one cup tie – including two defeats this season. The first of those two meetings was a close fought league fixture, at Glevum Park in mid-August, when a late goal saw Thatcham take the points, but Rovers were comprehensively beaten 3-0 when Saturday’s hosts made a return visit to Rovers’ home on 11 October.
Rovers manager is expecting another tough game when his side travel to Berkshire at the weekend, to face a team who are amongst the sides competing for a place at the top of the league table. “Based upon our games against them, Thatcham Town are the best side we’ve played, in my opinion, so we will have to show improved form and make sure we’re at the races on Saturday”, said Pritchett.
Rovers form has taken something of a tumble in recent weeks and they struggled to score, with 7 goalless games in their last ten outings. Pritchett is hopeful that the tide will soon turn, as he sees more and more of his squad return to fitness or conclude suspensions.
“Despite our defeat (against Ardley United) last Saturday, I saw plenty of positives in our performance, but we’re just struggling to find the back of the net. That will change and it could be the catalyst for some better results”, Pritchett concluded.
After their visit to Thatcham Town this weekend, Rovers will have a home Boxing Day game against Longlevens (12 noon kick-off), before ending 2016 with a New Years’ Eve visit to Highworth Town.
Rovers v Ardley, Part Three, Awaits - 8 December
After an incredibly disappointing performance – and result – away at Thame United last week, Tuffley Rovers will host a familiar foe on Saturday, as Oxfordshire side Ardley United visit Glevum Park.
The two teams have already met twice this season, although this will be their first meeting in the league. Back in August, Ardley United won an absorbing FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie 3-2; then, in late September, Rovers played host for an FA Vase fixture and meted out a little revenge, as they won 4-1.
Both games were competitive affairs and Rovers’ Manager, Mark Pritchett, is expecting this game to be no different, particularly as Ardley are on a good run of form. “Ardley United, have been picking up some excellent results of late and will be another tough test for us, in what is a really challenging month”, Pritchett confirmed. “We’ve already played them twice this season and the results probably show that there isn’t too much between the sides.”
Following last weekend’s defeat against Thame United, Rovers host Ardley United amidst a tough programme of fixtures in December, as they travel to Thatcham Town and Highworth Town, whilst also hosting Longlevens in a Boxing Day fixture.
After a terrific start to their season, Rovers’ boss was particularly disappointed with the manner of last week’s defeat. “I was really disappointed with the performance and result last Saturday, against Thame United; we just simply didn’t turn up and got what we probably deserved”, he added.
Rovers will be without Ben Tunnicliff, who is completing his a three-game suspension, and Brett James is still out with a knee injury, but Pritchett is likely to have an otherwise full strength squad to select from.
Rovers Hope To ‘Thame’ Opponents - 2 December
With 2016 drawing to a close, Tuffley Rovers head into their next Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division game, on Saturday, hoping to tame the free-scoring second placed side Thame United.
Rovers’ hosts this weekend had been unbeaten in the league until 15 November, scoring 62 times and conceding just 23 goals in their first fifteen games, but have since suffered two defeats, against Bracknell Town and Binfield, with only one goal for in those two fixtures.
Conversely, Mark Pritchett’s team recorded wins against both those opponents and head into Saturday’s tie off the back of collecting three more league points, against Henley Town, last weekend.
Following a spate of injuries and suspensions, Pritchett has the relative luxury of only three players being unavailable for selection this week, and it brings a welcome selection headache for the Rovers boss. “We’ve seen our form go up-and-down over the past month or so and the constant changes to our line-up have probably taken their toll”, he said. “Now that we have some many players returning to the squad, it makes my job a little more difficult, but I would rather have that problem.”
Liam Wright is unavailable, as he is away on holiday, whilst Jamie Goodwin will be unavailable for selection after suffering concussion following last week’s victory. The other player absent will be Ben Tunnicliff, who serves the second of a three game suspension. Marcus Foxwell is back in contention for a place in the side, after a prolonged absent due to work commitments.
A win would see Rovers surpass their entire points total for the 2015/16 season, as they look to cement their place in the upper echelons of the Premier Division table but Pritchett’s men will need to be on-form, if they are to repel Thame United’s renowned strike force of Andrew Gledhill and Lynton Goss, who have already scored 53 goals between them this season.
Striking Options Aplenty - 25 November
Having suffered a defeat against Royal Wootton Bassett Town last time out, despite a performance that probably deserved better, Tuffley Rovers will be hoping they can secure more league points, when they host struggling Henley Town at Glevum Park on Saturday.
The last few weeks have seen Mark Pritchett's side struggle for goals, as injuries and suspensions have taken their toll, but the vast majority of the Rovers squad will be available for selection tomorrow, with an abundance of striking options in comparison to recent weeks.
Despite dominating possession last week, it was probably a sign of the paucity of attacking resources at Pritchett's disposal, with Gareth Jones and Jamie Goodwin the only recognised strikers available, that his side were unable to turn territorial advantage into goals. The manager was, otherwise, satisfied with his team's efforts. "Despite the result last week, I was pretty pleased with the performance. We kept the ball well and created a lot of chances in the second half but just couldn't find the back of the net", he said. "That's how football goes sometimes, I guess."
Henley Town have been struggling of late but they recently appointed a new manager, in Rob Creech, and Pritchett is wary of the impact that a new manager can have, particularly after it took a late Macaulay Herbert goal to salvage a 3-3 draw against Saturday's opponents back in mid-September.
"We had a tough game at Henley earlier on in the season, coming from two goals behind twice, to eventually draw the game", he recalled. "We were poor that day, so will be hoping we can put a much better performance in on this occasion."
Herbert, who scored that late equaliser when Rovers visited Henley, is now fit to return to action following a lengthy period when he was absent through injury, and he will be joined in returning to the squad by Warren Mann and Shayne Bradley, who return from injury and suspension, respectively.
Only Ben Tunnicliff (suspended) is definitely out of Saturday's game, although Brett James and Ashley Davies will need to recover from injury in time, if they are to feature.
Rovers Return To League Programme - 18 November
After a long running sequence of cup fixtures, which has seen them play just two league games since 8 October, Tuffley Rovers return to Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division action tomorrow, with a trip to Royal Wootton Bassett Town.
The two sides have already met once in the league this season, when a sublime goal, scored direct from the restart, by Rovers’ Marcus Foxwell helped the Gloucester side record a 3-1 victory over the visitors to Glevum Park on 13 September.
Whilst Rovers’ Manager, Mark Pritchett, welcomes striker Gareth Jones back into the squad, following his three-game suspension, he is still without the suspended Shayne Bradley, whilst injuries are likely to rule out Warren Mann and Brett James. With Carl Brown’s imminent return to Evesham United, Pritchett could be short of striking options for the weekend.
“We’ve had a series of injuries and suspensions recently, which hasn’t helped us”, said Pritchett, as he looked forward to the relatively short trip this weekend. “The last time we played Wootton Bassett, they were a decent side and it was a very tough game. We started well but they pegged us back and were probably looking stronger when they equalised. If Marcus hadn’t been quick thinking, lobbing the keeper straight from the kick-off, it might have finished differently, but we ended up winning 3-1. I’m expecting a very tough challenge again this week”, Pritchett confirmed.
A shortage of attacking options aside, Pritchett has an almost fully fit group to select from, with Macaulay Herbert and Ashley Davies back in contention for starting berths, following injury, as he looks to build upon an impressive win against Bracknell Town in the last league outing.
Rovers Add Striker - 10 November
Tuffley Rovers have added striker Carl Brown to their ranks, ahead of Saturday’s Buildbase FA Vase tie against Bodmin Town, as they look to advance to the third round of the competition for the first time in the club’s history.
Brown, who is signed on dual registration forms with Evesham United of the Evo-Stik Southern League, is recovering from a spell out with injury, so Rovers’ manager, Mark Pritchett, has used the link forged with Paul Collicutt to add another player to his squad.
The acquisition of Brown’s signature follows on from the signings of Will Wellon, Jacob Sloggett and Liam Harding this season and comes at a critical time for Pritchett’s squad, with forwards Shayne Bradley, Gareth Jones and Warren Mann all suspended for this weekend’s cup tie.
Pritchett was delighted to secure Brown’s registration, as he is a player the Rovers’ boss knows well. “I’ve known Carl for a long time since our days in youth football, and he will be a fantastic addition to our squad”, Pritchett confirmed. “His signing has come at the right time, really, as we currently have three strikers suspended. Whilst he’s still an Evesham United player, he has struggled to commit to them, due to work commitments and injury, so this is an opportunity for him to get back into the game and improve his match fitness.”
Rovers new stand will be open on the day, to accompany their new standing terrace which was completed last week.
Small Step In The Vase; Giant Leap For Rovers - 7 November
History beckons for Tuffley Rovers on Saturday, as they have a chance to progress to the Third Round Proper of the Buildbase FA Vase for the first time in the club's history.
South West Peninsula League side, Bodmin Town, will visit Glevum Park for a 3pm kick-off on 12 November and it promises to be a big test for Mark Pritchett's Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division team, as their opponents currently sit near the top of their league, having completed a treble winning season in 2015/16.
The game will be Rovers' first at this stage since 1994/95, when they lost 2-1 to Westbury United, and they have never gone further in the competition since first entering in 1992/93. Despite that, Rovers’ manager, Mark Pritchett, is in confident mood.
“We had a terrific win on Saturday, which has set us up nicely for the FA Vase game. I know this is going to be a real challenge but I’ve got confidence in the squad I’ve assembled and we have to believe that we can take Tuffley Rovers into unchartered territory in this competition”, Pritchett said.
Whilst Rovers are without Shayne Bradley, Gareth Jones and Warren Mann, who are all suspended, Liam Wright will be available for selection, having missed last Saturday’s game, and both Pritchett and his assistant, Shayne Anson, are likely to start outfield, something which they had not done before the win against Bracknell Town, when their experience helped the team record a very much deserved, but hard earned, victory.
Rovers opponents, who will be undertaking a 360 mile round-trip for the tie, have a good record in the competition and reached the fifth round (their best ever performance) back in 2012/13.
Club Secretary, Neil Spiller, is urging people to back the team as they look to progress one step closer to Wembley. “We get reasonable crowds, in comparison to other sides at Step 5 of the non-league game, but we rely on a core group of supporters and it would be good to see the people of Tuffley and Podsmead coming out to support the team as they look to progress in this competition”.
Pritchett Looks Forward To A Break From Cup Action - 2 November
After a month of almost end-to-end cup football, Tuffley Rovers make a brief return to league action on Saturday afternoon, as they host in-form Bracknell Town at Glevum Park on Saturday.
The fixture, against a side who currently sit fifth in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division table - one place above Rovers but with games in-hand - comes a week before further cup action and one of the biggest games in Rovers' recent history, as they look forward to their Buildbase FA Vase 2nd Round Proper tie against Bodmin Town on 12 November.
Manager, Mark Pritchett, has been disappointed with some of the recent cup performances and is looking forward to the return to league action. "We haven't really been much of a cup team this year, although we have a really big game coming up in the Vase", he said. "I was particularly disappointed with the result last week, so it is good to get back to league action this week, although we have the form team of the division to play!"
Pritchett's side face a team who can be considered title challengers and who could go top of the league if they win their games in-hand, so he knows his squad will need to recover their early season form if they are to secure more valuable league points. "We will need to be at it from the off and show the form that got us up near the top of the league earlier this season. If we're not at it, we will get punished. I think their strikers have 30+ goals between them already this year, which tells me we need to start by defending well", Pritchett added.
A steadily growing injury list has taken its toll on Pritchett's squad in recent weeks and although he is pleased to welcome back Brett James, Macaulay Herbert and Tristan Haswell for this Saturday's game, Ashley Davies is struggling with a foot injury that could keep him out.
Whilst the injury list is reducing in length, Pritchett will be without Gareth Jones, Shayne Bradley and Liam Wright this weekend, with all three players serving suspensions. As a consequence, Pritchett might well hand another opportunity to Ryan Dobbins and Keiron Mace, who have both impressed for the club's reserve team this season.
Friday Night Cup Encounter - 27 October
Tuffley Rovers and Brimscombe & Thrupp go head to head on Friday evening, in the Bluefin Sport Hellenic League Challenge Cup.
Rovers, who returned to form with a 4-0 Buildbase FA Vase win over Western League side Sherborne Town on Saturday, take on the South Gloucestershire side having already played out two league fixtures already this season; the first ending 0-0 on 29 August, before Brimscombe won 2-0 at Glevum Park last week.
Mark Pritchett's side started the season in terrific form but their most recent exploits - predominantly in a variety of cup competitions - have seen some mixed performances and results but the Rovers boss was pleased with their endeavours on Saturday.
"Saturday was a brilliant day for the club, we put in a good performance to see off a hardworking Sherborne side 4-0 and it was good to get back to winning ways, after a slight dip in form. Hopefully we've got our confidence back and we can get another run going", said Pritchett.
The game is somewhat unusually being played on a Friday evening, as Rovers take advantage of the Hellenic League's encouragement for sides to look at ways of increasing supporter attendance at games and Rovers' Secretary, Neil Spiller, was pleased that Brimscombe & Thrupp agree to support the proposal.
"We get reasonably sized crowds for a club at our level, but we want to look at all possible avenues for encouraging a few additional faces at our games", he said. "We approached Brimscombe, who were more than happy to support the idea and the league didn't hesitate in granting their permission. We really appreciate the support given and hope the initiative will be rewarded with an increased gate."
Injuries and suspensions have taken their toll on Pritchett's squad recently and although players are starting to return, new striker Gareth Jones will miss the tie, having started a three match ban following his dismissal against Thatcham Town recently.
Pritchett has managed to add to his numbers this week, signing Adam Mace (pictured) on a dual registration basis from Southern League Slimbridge, with a view to the left-sided player providing short-term cover for Tristan Haswell, who picked up a knock on Saturday.
Win Will Equal Best Ever Vase Run - 20 October
Tuffley Rovers will be looking to recover their best form this weekend as they look to take one step closer to history in the Buildbase FA Vase.
After disappointing defeats against Kingswood last Saturday, then Brimscombe & Thrupp on Tuesday, the Glevum Park outfit face Western League, Premier Division side Sherborne Town in the Buildbase FA Vase First Round Proper on Saturday, knowing a win will equal their best ever run in the competition.
Whilst a win guarantees very welcome prize money, the chance of a decent run in a cup competition once won by Gloucestershire side Forest Green Rovers is something that their manager, Mark Pritchett, is eagerly looking forward to. "At the start of the season we were in at least five cup competitions but we were really looking at the Vase as the one where we wanted to progress as far as possible. It's a great competition for clubs at our level", Pritchett said.
Saturday's visitors, Sherborne Town, have been on a wretched run of form since the start of the season but secured their first league win the last time out and Pritchett isn't underestimating the challenge. "We haven't been in our best form over the last week or two and Sherborne won their last game, so we can't assume that a side who've suffered some heavy defeats this season are going to be a push over. We have to play to our best and I'm looking for a big response to a couple of poor displays recently", the Rovers manager confirmed.
Pritchett will return to the playing squad after missing the midweek defeat and Shayne Bradley is likely to be back too. Jack Overthrow and Marcus Foxwell have returned to action in the last seven days, following injuries, meaning that Rovers have something nearing a fully fit squad to work with for the first time in the last few weeks.
Rovers Gear Up For Local Rivals - 17 October
Tuffley Rovers Manager, Mark Pritchett, will be missing on Tuesday, as his side host fellow Gloucestershire club Brimscombe & Thrupp in the Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division.
Pritchett is working away so his Assistant, Shayne Anson, who returns to the playing squad after recovering from surgery on this leg in early September, will be in charge, with reserve team manager Steve Cowe assisting in the dug-out.
Rovers have faced a mounting injury list in recent weeks and with Pritchett and Shayne Bradley both unavailable, it is likely the Glevum Park outfit’s squad will be stretched as they look to recover after two cup defeats in the last week. The good news is that Jack Overthrow has recovered from injury and Rovers have further exploited a link established with Evesham United, so that defender Will Wellon has been signed on dual registration forms and goes straight into the squad.
Tuesday evening’s visitors enter the contest having had markedly different fortunes in the last week – having won two cup games in succession – and they also won their last league game, after a wretched run of league form whilst they had been on an epic run in this season’s FA Cup competition.
Pritchett will be hoping to cast aside the disappointment of defeat against County League side Kingswood on Saturday but he knows his team will need to vastly improve their performance if they are to secure more, valuable league points. “I was really disappointed with the manner of our defeat against Kingswood and I’m expecting a very tough game against Brimscombe on Tuesday. We need to tighten up defensively because we’ve been letting in some soft goals lately and that isn’t acceptable at any level. I have confidence that the lads can recover and we are capable of putting in performances, as we’ve shown on several occasions this season”, said Pritchett.
Tuesday evening’s game will kick-off at 7:45pm at Glevum Park.
Break From League Action Amidst Injury Crisis - 13 October
Mark Pritchett is content to have a weekend away from Hellenic League action, as his Tuffley Rovers side travel to Kingswood in the GFA Challenge Trophy competition this weekend.
With a mounting injury list, Pritchett saw his side succumb to an emphatic 3-0 Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup defeat on Tuesday evening and although he isn’t expecting an easy ride against County League side Kingswood, he does welcome the distraction of another cup competition.
“Tuesday evening’s game was a good workout and lesson for the boys, against a very good Thatcham Town side”, he said. “They are the best side we’ve played this season and it shows the levels of performance we need to reach if we want to be successful. However, we’ve got a long list of unavailable players, which isn’t helpful, so it’s good to have a weekend away from the league, although we’ve got a tough game nonetheless.”
Pritchett will be taking his side to face an old playing colleague, James Cole, the former Slimbridge player who is now managing Kingswood, who escaped relegation from the County League under his stewardship last season and now sit third in the table. “I know Coco (Cole) well and he’s done a brilliant job. We have to go there with the right attitude, knowing we are going to be in for a tough afternoon”, Pritchett added.
The list of absent players remains lengthy for Rovers but Pritchett did confirm that Shayne Bradley will be available again, after missing Tuesday night’s defeat with a shoulder injury, whilst Marcus Foxwell and Warren Mann will face late fitness tests.
Rovers Looking For Floodlit Cup Run - 10 October
After three impressive league performances, Tuffley Rovers go into cup action on Tuesday evening, when they will host Premier Division leaders, Thatcham Town, in the Perpetua Press, Hellenic League Floodlit Cup.
Rovers and Thatcham Town have already met once this season, when the league leaders won 2-1, thanks to Callum Willmouth’s late headed winner, back in August, and they currently sit five points and two places apart in the Hellenic League table, so the game has the potential to be another close affair.
With a mounting injury list to contend with, Rovers manager, Mark Pritchett, is considering shuffling his numbers for the cup game, with new signing Gareth Jones, and Reserves’ captain Ryan Dobbins potential additions to the starting line-up for the tie. Dobbins has been in particularly good form for the club’s Reserves this season, having scored nineteen times in eleven games, and Pritchett is looking to give him an opportunity to taste first team action.
“Ryan has been playing well and a cup competition gives us a chance to see what he can do at a higher level after he’s been scoring freely for the Reserves” said Pritchett.
Jones is also looking for a chance to impress, after recently being granted International Clearance to move from Welsh side CPS Llanberis. “Gareth got fifteen minutes on Saturday (at Highmoor Ibis) and he looked sharp, considering he hadn’t played for over a month. He deserves a chance, as a reward for his patience and whether he starts or comes on to make an appearance, it will be good to get him involved again”, Pritchett added. With several players missing or not fully fit on Saturday, Pritchett felt his side did well to secure a point at Highmoor Ibis and was hopeful some players would return for the visit of Thatcham.
“Jack Overthrow, Sammy Drew, Mark Ford and Macaulay Herbert are unlikely to feature, as they aren’t yet over injuries they’ve picked up earlier in the season”, Pritchett confirmed. “Marcus Foxwell is still carrying a recent knock and now Warren Mann is also struggling, after picking up an injury against Highmoor, We’re hoping that Liam Wright and Shayne Anson will be back to fitness, although it will be touch and go whether they’re fit to be included on Tuesday evening.”
Given the mounting injury list, Pritchett has also added reserve team defensive midfielder, Keiron Mace, to his squad for the game. Harry Walker returns after being unavailable on Saturday.
Injury Rules Out Players - 7 October
A glorious eight-day period, with three excellent results, has been followed by a restful six days, Tuffley Rovers return to Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division action on Saturday, when they visit Highmoor Ibis.
Rovers’ manager Mark Pritchett is likely to be missing a couple of players, with Sam Drew and Mark Ford still struggling to recover from long-term injuries, whilst Liam Wright and Macaulay Herbert picked up knocks in last Saturday’s victory over Flackwell Heath. However, new signing Gareth Jones is available for selection, having received International Clearance to complete his move from Welsh side CPD Llanberis, and Ben Tunnicliff is available after returning from holiday.
After successive wins against Ardley United, Longlevens and Flackwell Heath, Pritchett is looking for his side to go on a run of form. “We’ve been on a fine run of form and hopefully that can continue. Highmoor Ibis will be tough opposition but we are full of confidence and look forward to every game” he said.
Rovers currently sit third in the Premier Division table and although that puts them ten points clear of their hosts on Saturday, Highmoor Ibis currently have five games in hand.
Following Saturday’s game, Rovers go on a run of cup fixtures, briefly punctuated by the league fixture against Brimscombe & Thrupp on 18 October – with the first game against Thatcham Town at Glevum Park on Tuesday evening.
Pritchett Adds New Striker To Rovers’ Ranks - 6 October
After recording three consecutive wins, Tuffley Rovers’ manager Mark Pritchett is not resting on his laurels and has completed the signing of a new centre-forward, after Gareth Jones received International Clearance, as he moved from Welsh side CPS Llanberis.
Jones has been training with Rovers for the past month but was unable to play as the club awaited clearance to sign him from the Welsh club, but now that the administrative exercise has been completed, he will be looking to add to the depth of Pritchett’s squad. The former Malvern Town striker, who has also spent time at Porthmadog, CPD Llanrug, Caernarfon Town, as well as CPD Llanberis, can wait to get started with his new club.
“I’m delighted to sign-on for a great club and can’t wait to get on the pitch and get started with Tuffley Rovers”, he said. “I want to thank Pritch and his Assistant, Shayne Anson, for their faith in me and I look forward to helping them and the club on the way to success.”
Pritchett himself was delighted to add to his numbers, despite the goalscoring form his squad has shown in recent weeks. “I’m very happy to have finally sorted the International Clearance. Gareth has been waiting patiently to play and he is now desperate to get started on the pitch. He had a good goal-scoring record at Malvern Town, which suggests he’s capable of playing a key part in what we’re trying to achieve at Tuffley Rovers.”
Jones is likely to feature in this Saturday’s visit to in-form Highmoor Ibis, as Rovers look to consolidate their place near the top of the Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division table.
Rovers Look To Build On Great Week -1 October
After recording two wins in the past seven days, Tuffley Rovers will host Flackwell Heath, who sit second in the Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division, as they play a Saturday fixture at home in the league for the first time this season.
Last Saturday’s Buildbase FA Vase tie saw Rovers record an emphatic 4-1 over Ardley United and then followed that with an excellent performance in the 3-0 derby win against local rivals, Longlevens, on Tuesday.
Those games were a welcome return to the form that Rovers had produced earlier in the season and manager Mark Pritchett is hoping this will be the start of another good run of form.
“The boys backed up their performance in the Vase with a fantastic team effort on Tuesday and we got exactly what we deserved; a comprehensive win and three more points. We now need to try and find a level of consistency, especially as we’ve got some important games coming our way.”
Pritchett’s squad is slightly depleted ahead of the weekend, with Sam Drew and Sam Hill out injured, Ben Tunnifcliff on holiday and Assistant Manager, Shayne Anson, still recovering from surgery on his leg. Shayne Bradley is eligible again, after serving a one-match suspension.
Flackwell Heath arrive at Glevum Park unbeaten in the last six league games, with seven wins from their opening eleven games, which sees them three points ahead of The Rovers, who have played a game more.
Squad (from): Dave Evans, Marcus Foxwell, Tristan Haswell, Shayne Anson, Macaulay Herbert, Harry Walker, Mark Pritchett, Jack Overthrow, Ashley Davies, Jamie Goodwin, Warren Mann, Liam Wright, Brett James, Shayne Bradley, Mark Ford, Ryan Dobbins.
FA Vase Tie Looms For Rovers - 23 September
Tuffley Rovers have a chance to return to form, after another defeat in midweek, as well as taking the first step on the road to Wembley, as they host Ardley United in the Buildbase FA Vase, 2nd Qualifying Round tomorrow.
The Gloucester side will also have a chance to exact a little revenge for a defeat against Ardley in the FA Cup, back on 6 August, when they welcome their fellow Hellenic League, Premier Division side to Glevum Park for a 3pm kick-off. On that occasion, Rovers found themselves fielding an outfield player, Marcus Foxwell, in goal and were without their manager, Mark Pritchett, who was away on holiday.
Pritchett is now firmly settled in the managerial position and will be looking for his side to secure a win, so that they can extend a relatively positive start to the season, as well as securing the chance to progress in a competition that offers a chance for clubs at this level and below to progress all the way to the national stadium.
“In the past few years, Ascot United, Highworth Town and a couple of other Hellenic League sides, have managed to make it to the last eight of the competition and there is no reason we can’t do something similar”, said Pritchett.
Despite a disappointing defeat against Lydney Town in midweek, when a poor second-half display saw a half-time lead slip, Rovers have started the season well. Pritchett’s side sit fifth in the league table and will face opponents, who lie twelve places and ten points lower, albeit having played three games fewer.
Ardley United have moved to sign a new forward in the week, acquiring the services of Leam Howards from Banbury United, and will come into the game with a degree of confidence, having won 4-1 against Woodley Town in the 1st Qualifying Round.
The game at Glevum Park kicks-off at 3pm and admission will be £5 (£3 concessions). If a replay is required that will take place at Ardley on Tuesday, 27 September.
Crucial Week Ahead - 20 September
Following the high of the league performances in August, Tuffley Rovers started this month with two defeats but four points in seven days has reignited their season, ahead of a crucial week for the Gloucester club.
Currently fourth in the table, Mark Pritchett’s side will be looking to increase their points tally when they visit Lydney Town on Tuesday evening, knowing that their opponents might well have revenge in mind, following a 5-2 defeat just four weeks ago.
On that occasion, The Rovers raced into a four goal cushion after just 19 minutes, but the game was a much more evenly contested affair, particularly in the second period after Mark Lee’s side regained their composure. Both sides have had a mixed bag of results since, meaning that Pritchett is expecting a tough game.
“Lydney will probably be looking to get one over on us after the result at Glevum Park, so we’ll need to show the sort of performance that helped us beat them last time out. We can’t afford to be complacent”, he said.
Top scorer Warren Mann might be missing, after picking up a knock at Henley Town on Saturday and Sammy Drew will be out with the hamstring injury which forced him out of the same game, but new signing Jake Sloggett is available, whilst Liam Wright and Jamie Goodwin will return to the squad after getting valuable time with the Reserves’ on Saturday.
After the first team game at Lydney Town, the club’s Under 18s squad will host Yate Town in the FA Youth Cup, at Glevum Park on Wednesday, before Pritchett’s side return to FA Vase action at home to Ardley United on Saturday afternoon. If the week wasn’t busy enough, a trip to play a derby against Longlevens next Tuesday awaits.
Dual Registration - 17 September
Tuffley Rovers have signed Evo-Stik Southern League Evesham United player, Jacob Sloggett, on dual registration forms.
As with the signing of Liam Harding earlier this season, Pritchett has agreed a deal with Evesham manager, Paul Collicutt, which means Rovers will use the attacking midfielder whilst he looks to recover form following a lengthy period out with injury.
Sloggett has previously spent time with Bath City, Paulton Rovers and Bristol City and will be added to the squad for today’s fixture at Henley Town.
On The Road Again - 16 September
After a revitalising midweek victory over Royal Wotton Bassett Town, Tuffley Rovers return to action this weekend, with another Saturday away day, as they visit Henley Town.
Buoyed by the hard-earned 3-1 win at Glevum Park on Tuesday, after two consecutive defeats, Mark Pritchett’s side will be looking to build on the sixteen points accumulated to date, as they start on a run of away league fixtures, which will take in visits to Lydney Town and Longlevens before the end of September.
“It is incredibly strange that we haven’t had a Saturday home fixture so far this season, but it doesn’t seem to be affecting the squad too much, as we’ve had our best start to the season for a few years!”, said Secretary Neil Spiller.
Pritchett had hoped to welcome midfielder Courtney Hamilton back to the squad for the trip to Henley, but he picked up a knock in training and might not be fit to play. Defender Macaulay Herbert is likely to shake off a niggling injury, whilst Player/Assistant Manager Shayne Anson will be absent after surgery on a leg injury. Liam Wright might also miss out due to work commitments. However, such is the strength in depth amongst the squad that Pritchett has created, the young manager is confident that his side can get a result against a side who have eight points from their opening ten league games, following promotion at the end of last season.
“The lads worked incredibly hard on Tuesday evening, which was a great response to a poor performance at Ascot United”, said Pritchett. “If we can take the same attitude and commitment into the game at Henley Town, we have a chance to get a result, in what I’m sure will be another tough game.”
With a long season ahead of his side, Pritchett is keen to add to his squad and is awaiting International Clearance on a Welsh Alliance League striker he is looking to sign. “We’ve played well but it won’t hurt to add to our numbers and I think we could do with another option in attack. We’ve identified someone who has recently moved to the area and he looks a good fit”, Pritchett confirmed, although he doesn’t anticipate the clearance will come through in time for Saturday’s game.
Following the visit to Henley, The Rovers play Lydney on Tuesday evening, ahead of their only home Saturday fixture, an FA Vase 2nd Qualifying Round tie, at home to Ardley United on 24 September.
Squad (from): Dave Evans, Marcus Foxwell, Tristan Haswell, Ben Tunnicliff, Mark Pritchett, Macaulay Herbert, Warren Mann, Ashley Davies, Liam Wright, Sammy Drew, Courtney Hamilton, Brett James, Mark Ford, Jamie Goodwin, Shayne Bradley, Stan Brown, Ryan Dobbins.
Looking To Get Back To Winning Ways - 12 September
Tuffley Rovers have an early opportunity to get their season back on track, as they welcome Royal Wotton Bassett Town to Glevum Park tomorrow night, in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division.
After a terrific start to the season Rovers have suffered two consecutive defeats, in the last seven days, with a 6-3 defeat at Ascot United on Saturday a low-point, particularly after they led 2-0 and looked comfortable after half an hour. “We were 2-0 up, playing really well and in control”, said manager Mark Pritchett. “Then we seemed to lose our shape and discipline, meaning we were all over the place by the end of the game”.
Pritchett may well be looking to introduce some changes to the line-up on Tuesday evening, with Sammy Drew and Marcus Foxwell back in the squad, after missing the defeat at Ascot, and the Reserves’ captain, Ryan Dobbins, a possible contender to step-up, after scoring ten times in six appearances this season.
Royal Wotton Bassett Town will travel to Glevum Park in good form, having thumped Longlevens 4-1 on Saturday, which took them to fifth in the table. Kick-off is at 7:45pm at Glevum Park. Admission is £4 or £2 concessions. U16s get in free if accompanied by a paying adult.
Squad (from): Dave Evans, Marcus Foxwell, Sam Hill, Tristan Haswell, Ben Tunnicliff, Mark Pritchett, Macaulay Herbert, Shayne Anson, Warren Mann, Ashley Davies, Liam Wright, Sammy Drew, Courtney Hamilton, Brett James, Mark Ford, Jamie Goodwin, Shayne Bradley, Stan Brown, Ryan Dobbins
Nomadic Rovers Continue Points Quest - 9 September
Still without a home Saturday fixture this season, Uhlsport Hellenic League side Tuffley Rovers are on the road again, looking to get back to amassing vital league points, when they visit Ascot United at the weekend.
After a terrific start to the season, Rovers put in a poor display at Oxford City Nomads on Tuesday and were punished with a disappointing 3-2 defeat, so manager Mark Pritchett is keen to see a speedy return to form as his side visits The Racecourse Ground on Saturday. “We simply didn’t put in a good enough performance on Tuesday evening and got punished for it”, said Pritchett, who will welcome his captain and number one goalkeeper, Dave Evans, back into the squad for the visit to Ascot, which will be particularly as the manager had to don the gloves himself at Oxford City. I, for one, am pleased Dave is back with us, as he adds experience, as well as being a fantastic keeper, but is also means that I don’t have to continue playing there!”, Pritchett added.
As well as welcoming back his regular goalkeeper, Pritchett also has Sammy Drew available again, following suspension, and Liam Wright will return after missing Tuesday’s game due to work commitments. There is also a possibility that Liam Harding might feature, as Evesham United want him to get some regular football under his belt whilst he recovers fitness after a recent injury. Harding, who is a former Tuffley Rovers player, suffered an injury in pre-season and hasn’t played since. Only Jack Overthrow and Mark Ford are unlikely to be available for selection on Saturday.
Ascot have had a mixed start to the season but Rovers will undoubtedly need to be on-form if they are to add to the 13 league points accumulated so far this season. Last season, The Yellamen took four points from the two games with Rovers, winning 2-1 in August, before a 0-0 draw at the Racecourse Ground later in the season.
Following the visit to Ascot, The Rovers will entertain Royal Wotton Bassett Town on Tuesday evening, in a 7:45pm kick-off at Glevum Park, before finally hosting a 3pm Saturday kick-off when Henley Town visit on 17 September.
Squad (from): Dave Evans, Marcus Foxwell, Tristan Haswell, Ben Tunnicliff, Mark Pritchett, Macaulay Herbert, Shayne Anson, Warren Mann, Ashley Davies, Liam Wright, Sammy Drew, Courtney Hamilton, Liam Harding, Brett James, Mark Ford, Jamie Goodwin, Shayne Bradley, Stan Brown.
Rovers On The Road After Carterton No-Show - 5 September
Tuffley Rovers had another frustrating weekend, after Saturday’s scheduled Bluefin Sport Challenge Cup tie was cancelled, with scheduled opponents Carterton unable to field a team, after a second managerial relegation this season.
As a consequence of Carterton’s ‘no-show’, Rovers were handed a walkover and progressed to the second round of the Hellenic League cup competition, without kicking a ball in anger, but it means that Mark Pritchett’s side will go into a week of away fixtures without the opportunity to have given valuable playing time to some of the squad’s fringe players. Sixteen-year-old Kane Winman had been added to the squad ahead of the Carterton game and although Pritchett is looking to sign a more experienced keeper in the absence of regular stopper Dave Evans, the young stopper could have been given some game time at the weekend, after a handful of appearances for the club’s reserve squad. Several other players, including Jack Overthrow, Jamie Goodwin and Stan Brown might have been hoping for an opportunity to force their way into Pritchett’s plans, with a good performance against struggling Carterton, but may have to wait if the Rovers’ manager sticks with a starting line-up that has produced some excellent results in the season, to date.
Tuesday’s hosts will be Oxford City Nomads, who have won just one of their first seven league games, and Pritchett will be hoping his team continue to produce the goods. “We’ve had an excellent August, getting 13 points out of 18, and it has given me a tough job to pick just 11 players from those available”, said Pritchett. “Sam Hill will be back soon, whilst Sammy Drew is serving a one-match ban, but almost everyone else is fit and fighting for a place in the team.”
Rovers go into the game off the back of an excellent Bank Holiday weekend, looking to stay in the upper reaches of the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division table. On Friday they added Evesham United player Liam Harding to their squad, on dual registration form, as he looks to get game time after suffering an injury during pre-season with his parent club.
Following the visit to Nomads, The Rovers will visit Ascot United on Saturday afternoon, before they play at home the following Tuesday, against Royal Wotton Bassett Town.
Squad (from): Kane Winman, Marcus Foxwell, Tristan Haswell, Kieran Squires, Ben Tunnicliff, Mark Pritchett, Shayne Anson, Warren Mann, Ashley Davies, Liam Wright, Jack Overthrow, Courtney Hamilton, Liam Harding, Brett James, Mark Ford, Jamie Goodwin, Shayne Bradley, Stan Brown, Ryan Dobbins
Carterton Back In Action For Visit To Tuffley Rovers - 1 September
After a fantastic Bank Holiday weekend, Tuffley Rovers take a break from league action this Saturday, when they host troubled Uhlsport Hellenic League side Carterton in the Bluefin Sport Challenge Cup.
Carterton have not played a competitive game since 16 August, with their last four games postponed following the resignation of their manager and departure of the majority of their playing squad. With a new management team now at the helm, the Oxfordshire side are set for a return to action and whilst Rovers’ manager, Mark Pritchett, will welcome the opportunity for his side to continue playing competitive football, after a terrific run of form in the season, to date.
“Whilst I’m sorry to hear of Carterton’s problems, I’m delighted we’ll be playing, as we’ve had a fantastic set of results in the past few weeks and it will be good to keep the squad together”, said Pritchett.
Pritchett has a few players absent on Saturday – including keeper Dave Evans, defenders Macaulay Herbert and Sam Hill, attacker Brett James and the suspended utility man Sammy Drew – but will have the opportunity to give other members of his squad some game time, with reserve team captain Ryan Dobbins also in line for a chance to impress.
“I’m still hoping to add one or two players to the squad but we’ve already got strength in depth and I know anyone selected will do a job, if the team is on form”, Pritchett confirmed.
Squad (from): Marcus Foxwell, Tristan Haswell, Kieran Squires, Ben Tunnicliff, Mark Pritchett, Shayne Anson, Warren Mann, Ashley Davies, Liam Wright, Jack Overthrow, Courtney Hamilton, Brett James, Mark Ford, Jamie Goodwin, Shayne Bradley, Stan Brown, Ryan Dobbins.
Bank Holiday Tests For Pritchett's Rovers - 25 August
Tuffley Rovers head into the August Bank Holiday weekend in an optimistic mood, having picked up 9 points from a possible 12 this season, but know that they'll need to be in-form if they are to further increase their points tally.
On Saturday, Mark Pritchett's squad will visit current league leaders Binfield - who presently boast a record of four wins from five games - and then they make the shorter journey to Brimscombe & Thrupp, who share Rovers' points tally, on Monday afternoon (3pm).
Pritchett is only likely to be without defender Kieran Squires, who is likely to get some playing time for the Reserves as he recovers from injury, so will have an almost fully fit squad to select from, although he is likely to stick with the starting eleven that comprehensively beat Lydney Town on Tuesday evening.
Pritchett is clearly delighted to have competition for places, as his side look to accumulate more early season points. "We have a great bunch of lads, who are working extremely hard to get positive results. There have been some great performances already and they're making life difficult for me because ultimately I can only pick eleven players to start", Pritchett commented.
Marcus Foxwell's recall on Tuesday, to a slightly unfamiliar holding midfield role, was a notable change but was an overwhelming success, as the experienced Rovers man put in a good performance but also weighed in with two excellent goals. "Marcus' performance typifies what is happening at the moment", continued Pritchett. "He's only played a few minutes so far this season but has been patient, got his chance and did a great job for the team".
The weekend promises to be a tricky one for Pritchett's side, as Binfield took maximum points from their meetings last season, whilst Brimscombe won two out of three meetings, but the Rovers' manager will be hoping that they can carry their impressive early season form through to end of the month.
Squad (from): Dave Evans, Sam Hill, Marcus Foxwell, Tristan Haswell, Kieran Squires, Ben Tunnicliff, Sam Drew, Macaulay Herbert, Mark Pritchett, Shayne Anson, Warren Mann, Ashley Davies, Liam Wright, Jack Overthrow, Courtney Hamilton, Brett James, Mark Ford, Jamie Goodwin, Shayne Bradley, Stan Brown.
All Set For Clash Of Local Clubs - 22 August
Having seen their weekend game cancelled, after scheduled opposition Carterton Town were plunged into chaos by the resignation of their manager, Tuffley Rovers will return to action on Tuesday evening, when they host a fellow Gloucestershire club, Lydney Town, in a Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division fixture at Glevum Park (7:45pm).
Rovers will welcome back fit again Brett James for the visit of The Town and manager Mark Pritchett will have a selection headache, as he has a full squad available for the game. After last week’s defeat at home to Thatcham Town he’ll no doubt be pondering some changes to his starting eleven, with Liam Wright and James both in line for recalls.
“It was disappointing to lose last time out, but Thatcham Town are a very good side and I would expect them to be there or thereabouts when we’re looking at sides challenging for the league, come the end of the season”, said Pritchett. “We’ve started the season well, but so have Lydney and we’ll need to show good form if we’re to continue accumulating points. It promises to be a very competitive local derby.”
The two sides met twice last season, with the first game 0-0 at Glevum Park and the reverse tie ending 1-1 when the sides met at the Lydney Recreation Ground. Rovers won both games when the sides played each other in 2014/15, so Lydney, who have won three of their first four league games, will be looking for a first win against The Rovers since April 2014.
The game kicks-off at 7:45pm on Tuesday evening. Admission is £4 (£2 concessions) and U16s get free admission if they attend with a paying adult.
Rovers Resume League Duties - 12 August
After he missed last Saturday’s defeat in the FA Cup, Mark Pritchett returns to the Tuffley Rovers dug-out for this weekend’s Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division fixture at Burnham FC.
Rovers will be looking to bounce back following the 3-2 reverse at Ardley United and Pritchett has an almost full squad to choose from, with both Brett James and Liam Wright hoping to feature after picking up injuries last time out.
Hosts Burnham were relegated from the Southern League last year and although they lost their first game 8-1, Pritchett (pictured) is under no illusions that the side managed by former Spurs, Sheffield United, Crystal Palace and Millwall defender, David Tuttle, will be tough opposition.
“We can’t afford to be complacent. Every game has to be treated with the same importance, so that we pick up the points we need to first secure our place in the division next year”, he said. “We have a strong squad and I’m hoping we will show the character needed to bounce back from the disappointment of last week’s defeat.”
An opening evening win at home to Highworth Town means Rovers had a perfect start to their league season and they’ll be hoping to ensure that their first away game sees them secure another valuable point or three.
“My aim is no different now, from the start of the season”, Pritchett explained. “We want to ensure that we’re a Premier Division side next year and any success in the cup competitions will be a welcome bonus.”
Striker Stan Brown, previously with Gloucester City U18s, was added to the squad before the defeat at Ardley, offering Pritchett good options in attack, with Warren Mann already having netted three times in the first two games of the season.
Squad (from): Dave Evans, Sam Hill, Marcus Foxwell, Kieran Squires, Tristan Haswell, Ben Tunnicliff, Sam Drew, Macaulay Herbert, Mark Pritchett, Shayne Anson, Warren Mann, Ashley Davies, Liam Wright, Jack Overthrow, Courtney Hamilton, Brett James, Mark Ford, Jamie Goodwin, Shayne Bradley, Stan Brown
Rovers Set For FA Cup Adventure - 4 August
After a fantastic win at home to Highworth Town, in their opening Uhlsport Hellenic League fixture on Tuesday evening, Tuffley Rovers will travel to face a familiar foe in the Extra Preliminary Round of this season's Emirates FA Cup, on Saturday.
The visit to Ardley's home at Fritwell Road, will be a repeat of the two clubs' meeting at the same stage of last year's competition. On that occasion, Rovers came away with a 4-1 win, with their goals coming from Anthony Herrin, Macaulay Herbert, Stu Griffith and Warren Mann.
New manager, Mark Pritchett, is hoping for a repeat of that win, although he will not be at the game, as he was already committed to a trip to Ireland before his appointment to the role.
"I said, when I was appointed, that a cup run or two was a real ambition this season and it would be great to follow up on the performance we produced against Highworth Town", he said. "I'm really disappointed that I can't be there but Shayne (Anson), my Assistant, will be looking after things and I know the lads will be well prepared."
Pritchett is no stranger to the magic of the FA Cup, having played for the Shortwood United squad that reached the First Round Proper in 2013/14.
New keeper, Dave Evans, is also unavailable, so back-up Chris Perks is likely to start in goal, but otherwise, Pritchett and Anson have almost a full squad to select from.
"Ardley United will be difficult opponents and had a terrific win of their own, against Thatcham Town, in midweek but we've got a good squad together and I'm confident the lads will do the business, with or without me", Pritchett confirmed.
The winners of the tie will have a home draw in the next round, facing the winners of another Extra Preliminary Round fixture between Highworth Town and Hampshire side, Tadley Cavella.
Rovers All Set - 31 July
Tuffley Rovers’ are all set for the new competitive season, with their new Manager, Mark Pritchett, in buoyant mood ahead of their first Hellenic League, Premier Division fixture of 2016/17.
Pritchett, who took over the role in the summer, after Warren Evans’ resignation in March of this year, has overseen a solid pre-season campaign and feels that the mood is positive as they prepare for the visit of Highworth Town on Tuesday evening.
“The lads have been brilliant since the start of pre-season. We had a good group and the team spirit has been great. Hopefully we can take this into the season”, he said.
Rovers couldn’t have asked for a tougher start to the campaign, as they host a side who have regularly finished in the upper reaches of the Premier Division, who were FA Vase semi-finalists two seasons ago and he twice recorded 5-0 wins over Evans’ squad in 2015/16.
Having retained the majority of last season’s young, developing squad, Player/Manager Pritchett has managed to bolster his options, adding experienced former Slimbridge keeper, Dave Evans, to the squad, alongside other new signings Jamie Goodwin, Ben Tunnicliff, Jack Overthrow and Sam Hill, whilst he can also call on his Assistant, Shayne Anson, who has considerable Southern League experience, even if he doesn’t select himself in the starting line-up.
Pritchett has an almost fully fit squad to choose from, with only Shayne Bradley doubtful, due to a calf injury, and Overthrow the only other player unavailable for selection.
Squad (from): Dave Evans, Sam Hill, Marcus Foxwell, Kieran Squires, Tristan Haswell, Ben Tunnicliff, Sam Drew, Macaulay Herbert, Mark Pritchett, Shayne Anson, Henry Birkett, Warren Mann, Ashley Davies, Liam Wright, Courtney Hamilton, Brett James, Mark Ford, Jamie Goodwin, Shayne Bradley, Gareth Davies.
Tuesday’s opening fixture is a 7:45pm kick-off at Glevum Park. Admission is £4 (£2 concessions) and U16s are free, if accompanied by an adult.
Rovers Secure Additional Sponsors - 3 July
Tuffley Rovers’ commercial team have been busy securing sponsorship deals over the past seven days, having received confirmation of their place in the Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division last week.
Having previously extended their deal with kit supplier Zapkam, who will manufacture the club’s new playing strip and training gear, in addition to ongoing sponsorship agreements with Altripan UK Ltd, Molson Coors, Alistair Bone Estate Agents and JMJ Fabrications, the club have now secured a further four figure deal with UK Power Reserve Ltd., who will sponsor training kit for several of the club’s sides.
“We’ve been working with UK Power Reserve recently, as they are conducting some works at Glevum Park and in the surrounding area and we are delighted that they’ve agreed to provide some sponsorship for the next two seasons”, said Secretary, Neil Spiller. “Alongside the deal with Zapkam, this will mean that we can provide good quality training kit to players in our adult sides, so that we have a corporate brand across all squads”.
Tim Emrich, CEO, UK Power Reserve said: “We are really proud to be sponsoring Tuffley Rovers FC. UK Power Reserve always wants to invest in the community in which its working, and we wish Tuffley Rovers the best with their pre-season training, building on recent successes and cementing their place in the Hellenic Premier Division, following promotion the previous season.”
The club are continuing to work on new sponsorship opportunities and would welcome support from anyone interested. Enquiries to email@example.com.
Rovers Ready For New Season - 25 June
After a protracted end to their 2015/16 season, which saw the club waiting until the Hellenic League confirmed their Premier Division place on Friday, following the outcome of a series of other clubs’ appeals to the FA, Tuffley Rovers will return to training this week, with a new manager alongside continued improvements to their Glevum Park home.
Having finished in a relegation place at the end of the last playing season, Rovers were awaiting the outcome from several appeals made against relegation and lateral moves, with the last, North Greenford’s appeal against their relegation to the Hellenic League, being resolved on 23 June. It was not until then that the fate of the Gloucester side was secured and not a moment too soon, as the commence training under a new management team on Tuesday, 28 June.
“This is a huge relief”, said Club Secretary, Neil Spiller. “There were indications that we would remain in the division, but we couldn’t take anything for granted and it has had an impact on our planning for the 2016/17, as we were unable to arrange pre-season games against other sides in the Hellenic League, given that we didn’t know the division we would operate in.”
However, with the decision now confirmed, all plans can now focus on the new season and new manager, Mark Pritchett, can’t wait to get started.
“I’m excited about the opportunity and can’t wait to get started”, said Pritchett, who will begin pre-season training in tandem with his Assistant, Shayne Anson and reserve team manager, Steve Cowe, the former Aston Villa and Swindon Town professional.
“We are trying to bring our squads closer together, bring in a few additional players, to add strength to last year’s squad, but we would also welcome any new players who think they have something to offer at Hellenic League level”, he continued.
Pritchett has set his sights on retaining the club’s place in the Premier Division, without the need for any post-season decisions, and is also targeting some positive performances in cup competitions. “We’ll start the season with the intention of retaining our Premier Division place on merit, then anything else will be a bonus. If we can achieve that, alongside a good run in the FA Cup or FA Vase, that would be fanastic”, he added.
The FA Cup holds a special place in Pritchett’s footballing memories, as he was a member of the Shortwood United side that reached the first round proper in 2013/14. “Having had such a terrific experience as a player, I’d love a good cup run as a manager, too.”
Rovers return to training at their Glevum Park ground at 7pm on Tuesday, 28 June and will continue to train on each Tuesday and Thursday evening. New players are welcome and the club will be operating five sides on a Saturday this year, an increase from the four squads they put out in the 2015/16 season.
The first team’s schedule of pre-season games has been confirmed, starting with a game against Gloucester City on Wednesday, 6 July (7:30pm):
Wednesday, 6 July (7:30pm) Home v Gloucester City]
Saturday, 9 July (3pm) Away v Gala Wilton
Saturday, 16 July (3pm) Away v Bewdley Town
Tuesday, 19 July (6:30pm) Away v Frampton United
Saturday, 23 July (4pm) Away v Stonehouse Town
Tuesday, 26 July (7:30pm) Home v Hereford Lads’ Club
Saturday, 30 July (3pm) Away v Bartestree FC
Tuffley Reprieved - 24 June
Tuffley Rovers will be playing in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division next season following an FA appeal by North Greenford United.
North Greenford and Burnham were both relegated from the Southern League, and had been allocated by the FA to the Uhlsport Hellenic League. Both club's had made an unsuccessful appeal to the FA, to try to be granted a reprieve from relegation.
Burnham will play in the UHL in the coming season, North Greenford however have been re-allocated to the Step 5 Combined Counties Premier League.
The re-allocation means that Tuffley Rovers, fourth from bottom last season, will remain in the UHL Premier Division.
Rovers Recruit Pritchett As Their New Manager - 27 May
Tuffley Rovers have appointed 27-year-old Mark Pritchett as their new Player/Manager, following a recent recruitment exercise.
Rovers’ Executive Chairman, Neil Brinkworth, confirmed the appointment of one of the youngest, if not the youngest, manager in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division. Whilst acknowledging the appointment will be something of a gamble, Brinkworth is sure the correct man has been appointed.
"We had some very good candidates; some with experience and others who offered a completely different skill-set”, said Brinkworth. "However, we are sure that this appointment is right for the club, as we are appointing a young manager, with good experience playing at a higher level, who will have good contacts in local football, as well as a sound knowledge of the existing playing squad, which will be important as we plan for the season ahead.”
Rovers had interviewed five candidates earlier this week and held a second meeting with Pritchett before reaching their final decision. The incoming manager has played under some of the most high-profile managers in local football, including Brian Hughes, Paul Collicutt and Alex Sykes, during spells at Bishops Cleeve, Shortwood United and Cirencester Town, and is hoping he can bring some of the knowledge he has developed to aid Rovers’ cause.
"Although I will be new to the role of manager, I feel my playing experience, everything I have learned playing under some fantastic managers and my knowledge of the game could be a huge asset to the club, going forward”, said Pritchett.
"Mark has a winning mentality and although he is a fairly quiet lad, he demonstrated good leadership skills when we interviewed him”, said Brinkworth. "We are absolutely confident that he will be a good manager, both in the short-term and for the foreseeable future.”
Pritchett will be assisted by Slimbridge and Cirencester Town player Shayne Anson, with a third member of the management team to be confirmed shortly. Both Anson and Pritchett are likely to continue as players, so that they can add their considerable experience to the benefit of the squad. In the meantime, Pritchett confirmed he was delighted to be offered the opportunity to take on the role vacated by Warren Evans in March.
"I’m really pleased to be appointed as the Rovers’ manager and very much look forward to tackling the challenges ahead. I’m delighted the club have shown their support by offering this opportunity.”
Having finished in the four relegation places at the end of the 2015/16 season, Rovers are likely to retain their place in the Hellenic Premier Division for the next season, although they still await final confirmation from the league.
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