Rovers face Ascot hurdle in an effort to maintain unbeaten run

After a challenging season, included a spell which saw his side go without a league win for over three months, Mark Pritchett takes his squad to high-flying Ascot United on Saturday on the back of a four game unbeaten streak that has secured valuable points in Tuffley Rovers’ battle against relegation from the Hellenic League, Premier Division.

When they last played, fourteen days ago at Reading City, goals from Jake Rhodes and Brett James proved sufficient to secure a first win since October, a result that followed three consecutive draws, against Windsor, Holmer Green and Virginia Water.

By contrast, Saturday’s hosts started their season in terrific form but have struggled in recent league games, taking just five points from their last five league fixtures, although they have shown much better form in several cup ties since the turn of the year.

The fixture will see Rovers making one of their longest journeys of the season, as they cover a 188 mile round-trip, to face a side who they recorded a good point against when the two sides met at Glevum Park in early November. On that occasion, prolific striker Nathan Minhas – who has since moved to National League side, Billericay Town – rescued a point for one of this season’s promotion contenders, equalising to make it 2-2 after goals from Kieran Alder and Dominik Kent had seen Rovers recover from falling behind to Louis Bouwers’ header.

With his side’s results beginning to show some reward for a series of promising performances this season, Pritchett is looking to build on recent progress, although he is wary of the threat that Ascot United will pose.

“I thought Ascot were one of the best sides we’ve played this season, so we know we’re in for a difficult task”, he said. “Although we’re coming into this game off the back of some decent performances and I’m hoping the confidence of that win at Reading will give us the chance to push on and collect more positive results in the coming weeks.”

A largely unchanged squad is set to make the long haul to The Racecourse Ground on Saturday, although Pritchett has added Adam Bloomfield to the squad, on a dual registration basis from Slimbridge, with the young forward having had a prolific season for the Southern League club’s Under 18 squad.