Rovers looking to secure Premier Division status

Pritchett looking for a cup final performances, as Rovers look to secure their Premier Division status

Tuffley Rovers will go into Saturday’s Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division game with Ardley United looking to extend their five game unbeaten run in the league, with manager Mark Pritchett calling on his squad to deliver performances in their final twelve league games, as though they were cup finals, in an effort to secure the points needed to avoid relegation.

Since defeat at home to Royal Wootton Bassett Town on 15 December, Rovers have managed four draws – at Windsor, Virginia Water and last week at Ascot United, as well as a home draw with Holmer Green on 5 January – and a win at Reading City three weeks ago. That run hasn’t drastically altered their league position, but the seven points gained have kept Pritchett’s charges off the foot of the table and drawn them closer to the sides above them, including Saturday’s visitors to Glevum Park.

The Rovers boss has found himself lamenting results, rather than performances, in the season to date and his team are finally accruing points, after two miserable spells, where points were at a premium, earlier in the season.

Last week’s draw at high-flying Ascot might easily have been converted to a much needed win, although there was still a risk that Rovers would return empty handed too, but Pritchett was buoyant about the performance and believes his team will move away from trouble if the application shown can be matched in their twelve remaining games.

“It was a really positive result for us”, Pritchett enthused. “We could have won it, but we are just pleased to have secured another point, remain unbeaten and we now move on to face Ardley United, with our focus on taking all three points.”

Rovers’ form has coincided with the return of Warren Mann, after a serious injury, although the addition of Cheltenham Town youngsters Tyreece Briscoe and Will Dawes has also made a difference, whilst Pritchett has also been pleased with the improvement in defence, with Rhys Davies and Joel White, now reunited alongside the excellent Macaulay Herbert, influential in the improved run of form.

Pritchett has also added Slimbridge’s prolific U18 striker, Adam Bloomfield, to the squad and although he only made a brief appearance against Ascot United, coming on with ten minutes remaining, the Rovers boss feels that the seventeen-year-old could have an important role to play.

“Dominik Kent scored last week, to become our top scorer, but he has only scored six times in all competitions, and it is no surprise that we needed a goalscorer”, Pritchett confirmed. “We believe Adam can make a difference and be a key part of our run in, as we try to climb up the table.”

Ardley United arrive at Glevum Park unbeaten in their last three league games – with one win and two draws, including a 3-3 scoreline recorded against Longlevens last weekend – and sitting 8 points above Rovers, albeit having played a game more. They beat Rovers 2-1 earlier in the season and Pritchett is hoping his team can exact a little revenge for the defeat on that occasion.

“We are looking to put things right, after the defeat at their place”, he added. “Their form has been up and down but they’ve got points on the board and they will make it difficult for us. I believe we are capable of taking the points if we continue the form we have been showing.”