Rovers ready for the weekend


Tuffley Rovers’ manager, Mark Pritchett, is hoping this weekend’s visit to Reading City will offer his chance to both extend an unbeaten league run that dates back to mid-December, whilst also recording a first league victory since early-October, with a much needed three points much needed as two of the other Hellenic League, Premier Division sides face each other.

When Reading City visited Rovers early in the season they were considered to be one of the sides fighting it out for the Hellenic League title, but such has been the turnaround in their fortunes, alongside a mass exodus of the players assembled under a previous management regime, that a win for Pritchett’s men could see the Berkshire side move perilously close to the relegation places.

Rovers currently sit in 18th place, in a nineteen team division, eight points behind City and three behind Abindgon United, but a win would take them closer to safety and within touching distance of Saturday’s opposition, with three points all the more important as Abingdon play Longlevens, who are bottom of the table and two points behind Pritchett’s men.

After three consecutive draws in league fixtures, there is newly found optimism in Rovers’ ranks and Pritchett believes his side our now beginning to look more competitive, although last week’s draw against Virginia Water, when they played against ten men for over 45 minutes, was a frustrating experience for the Rovers’ boss.

“It was disappointing not to win last week, but we’re staying positive and I’m pleased that we’re now three games unbeaten”, he said. “Virginia Water made it difficult for us, keeping their shape despite being a man down, and although we played well in patches, I don’t think we did enough to get a winner.”

Pritchett’s team seem to have run into better form at a time when their longest-serving player, Warren Mann, has returned from a serious injury, with the diminutive forward scoring in each of the last three games, after missing four months of the season.

“It was pleasing to see Warren get on the scoresheet again, and he’s given us a massive boost since returning from injury”, Pritchett reflected.

Another feature of Rovers’ recent improved form has been a more stable squad and Pritchett anticipates naming an unchanged sixteen going into Saturday’s game, one he genuinely believes is a challenge his side can meet.

“We’re looking forward to this weekend and spirit in the camp is still high”, he concluded.

For those supporters not travelling to Reading, there is a fixture at Glevum Park, with Sharpness visiting for 2pm Gloucestershire Northern Senior League game and another local game, as the Fourths host Old Richians Reserves at Beaufort. The other game on Saturday sees the Thirds travel to face Wickwar Wanderers.