After his charges gained a somewhat fortuitous point at Virginia Water on Saturday, when Mark Pritchett was absent, the returning manager will be hoping that he can inspire his team to inflict a second defeat of the season on fellow Gloucestershire side, Bishops Cleeve, tonight.
Hosts Cleeve fell to a surprise defeat at Ardley United on Saturday, but will remain one of the favourites for this season’s Hellenic League title and it promises to be a tough test for Pritchett’s young squad.
The biggest challenge for the men from Glevum Park will be to show the sort of level of performance that saw them come back from trailing 2-0, rather than what was on display during the first hour or so at Stag Meadow on Saturday afternoon. Rich Cox, Pritchett’s assistant, who oversaw the draw, knows Rovers need to improve. “We were very poor in the first half and couldn’t get a foothold in the game. We just weren’t good enough, both in and out of possession”, he confirmed. “We got a bit of luck when they had their third goal disallowed and after we scored almost straight after, it gave us a lift and we started to believe we could get something.”
Cox also recognised that his use of the substitutes also played its part. “When we changed our shape, we improved and the players from the bench helped us salvage a point. “
The stand-in manager recognises that another poor performance is likely to prove costly, against a team who are being touted as one of the teams most likely to challenge for honours. “There is no doubt that we will have to weather a few storms, and take our chances. This game is tough enough, at any time, but will be even harder after Cleeve were stung in their opening game. We will need to take the chances that come our way.”
Pritchett and Ryan Caddock, who faces a late fitness test, are likely to be added to the squad from Saturday, whilst Rovers await confirmation of Harri John’s International Clearance, with hopes that it will be completed in time for him to feature.
Rovers Squad (from): Alex Avenell; Sam Hill; Jai Maisey; Declan Earwaker; Macaulay Herbert; Mark Pritchett, Luke Troke; Courtney Hamilton; Dominik Kent; Ryan Caddock; Harri John; Brett James; Warren Mann; Martin Smith; Jack Beardsell; Jake Rhodes; Ashley Bird; Adam Bloomfield; Ellis Waugh.