FA Vase opportunity awaits and history beckons!

ONE SMALL STEP IN THE VASE; ONE GIANT LEAP FOR TUFFLEY ROVERS

History beckons for Tuffley Rovers next weekend, 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”, Spiller said.

Rovers have improved their squad by adding striker Carl Brown to their squad ahead of Saturday’s game. Brown, who has signed on dual registration forms from Evesham United of the Southern League, is recovering from a spell out with injury, so Rovers’ manager, 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 explained that he 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.”

The game against Bodmin Town kicks-off at 3pm on Saturday. Admission is £5 (£3 concessions).

Rovers’ new stand will be open on the day, to accompany their new standing terrace which was completed last week.