Pritchett pleased to have plenty of options

Mark Pritchett is glad to have plenty of strength in depth at Tuffley Rovers, as he looks to collect the points needed to secure his side’s place in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division, starting with the visit of Flackwell Heath on Saturday afternoon.

After some encouraging performances, matched by the accumulation of vital points against some of the division’s high-flying teams, Rovers succumbed to a disappointing 4-2 reverse at Binfield last weekend, leaving Pritchett’s side still very much at risk of relegation, although the Rovers boss sees his side’s most recent outing as more of a ‘blip’ than a source of serious concern.

“I thought that our performance on Saturday was the poorest we’ve produced since the turn of the year”, Pritchett reflected. “We simply didn’t turn up and got what we deserved against a decent Binfield side.”

“Flackwell will be a difficult test for us, they’re always a decent physical side”, he explained. “We need to dust ourselves down and go again, with five more very important games to go now, we know we can get over the line but our performance levels need to be high, to make sure.”

After having a fairly settled squad in recent months, Pritchett goes into Saturday’s game with a few players unavailable, meaning he will be calling on some players from the club’s reserve team, who have been playing well in the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League and put together a run of ten games unbeaten.

Luke Troke, who made an excellent full debut in the win against Lydney Town, is back involved after scoring four times for the second team in their last four games, and he will be joined by Shay Lyons, Harry Walker and Will Emery, all promoted to fill gaps associated with injury and unavailability.

Cheltenham Town Academy scholars Will Dawes, Tyreece Briscoe and the newly added Olly Price are all away with their parent club for the weekend, Brad Loveridge is unavailable and Henry Birkett has left the club, to return to one of his former clubs, Quedgeley Wanderers.

In addition, Paul Carter is struggling with a muscle injury and is unlikely to feature, whilst Ashley Bird has a knock and is also doubtful.

Add to this Adam Bloomfield’s call-up to the County FA U18 squad, making him unavailable for selection and Pritchett is delighted with the strength in-depth, having added the four reserve team players, as well as the returning Luke Payne and fit again Sam Hill into his selection plans.

“Our reserve team has been doing well and all of the lads coming into the squad have first team experience”, Pritchett added. “It is a testament to the options we have that we’ll have a strong side out, despite so many people being unavailable for this game. I’m confident these lads will do the business for us.”

Rovers host Flackwell Heath at Glevum Park, for a 3pm KO on Saturday afternoon.