Safety secured, so opportunity knocks for Rovers’ youngsters

Team huddle.vBishops Cleeve

As they set off on their final away game of the season, Tuffley Rovers will be in party mood, after local rivals Longlevens’ win over Reading City on Friday ensured that Mark Pritchett’s side had secured Hellenic League, Premier Division football for the 2019/20 season.

However, it will be a depleted Rovers squad that make the trip to Flackwell Heath on Saturday, with Warren Mann and Jake Rhodes injured, whilst Macaulay Herbert, Brad Loveridge, Luke Payne and Rhys Davies are all unavailable for a variety of reasons. So, with Paul Carter also suspended, Pritchett is left short of numbers, although one position is likely to have the most profound effect on the Rovers boss.

Luke Merchant is travelling with the squad but might not be fit to play, which leaves Pritchett with a problem, given that reserve keeper Dan Brabham is unavailable for selection. It could mean Pritchett may don the gloves himself, making an appearance in goal for the third consecutive season.

Thankfully, the Levens win on Friday afternoon has ensured the lingering threat of relegation has passed, meaning that Pritchett will have the opportunity to look at some of the club’s younger players over the weekend.

Reserve team players Shay Lyons and Jack Ellis have both been added to the squad, whilst Essa Sabally returns, after a spell out of the first team squad, and with all three players under 20 years of age, Pritchett knows he will be fielding a very young squad.

Joel White, Pritchett, Sam Hill and Brett James aside, Pritchett’s squad is full of U20s and the manager himself is the elder statesman, at 30 years of age!

The two sides meet just three weeks after playing out a 1-1 draw at Glevum Park, over a busy weekend for Rovers, who will host Fairford Town, as part of the Hellenic League’s Groundhop on Monday, 22 April.Celebration.v Binfield(2)