Britton is keen for Oldland to demonstrate their new toughness
PAUL Britton wants his rejuvenated Oldland Abbotonians charges to demonstrate they are fast emerging as a force to be reckoned with over their final five games.
A spell of good results lifted Oldland to 12th place heading into today's away derby with a Cadbury Heath team on the brink of a maiden promotion to the Premier Division (1pm).
Britton, who recalled midfielder Jack Camm to his squad but went without unavailable striker Dave Pollinger, said: "We've become a tough side to beat and our offensive players are posing a lot of problems for defences. It would be great if we could finish in the top half of the table after our early-season problems."
Heath now face a scrap with Melksham Town for the league title after seeing their stunning 26-game unbeaten run end in a 1-0 defeat at the home of the second-placed Wiltshire side on Monday.
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"We didn't deserve to lose, but it had to happen at some point," said Heath manager Andy Black. "The championship is in the melting pot and we've got two local derbies at home against Oldland today, and away against Roman Glass St George on Monday (Oaklands Park, 3pm), to try and pull away from Melksham."
Black's team entered this afternoon's match with Oldland two points clear of Melksham, having played a game more than their chief rivals. And Heath were hampered by injury concerns over midfielders Jason Thatcher and Mark Cherry, although defender Joe Chandler was hoping to be available after a hamstring complaint.
Hengrove Athletic were without eight regular first-teamers for their trip to play fifth-placed Bradford Town last Saturday, but boss Jamie Hillman was delighted by the response of his players to the mission and the 1-1 outcome.
"I've told the lads they must smile and enjoy their football more, just as they do in training," said Hillman, who was without the suspended Luke Crewe and unavailable Sam Williams for their final home match of the season today against Keynsham Town (1pm).
Portishead Town boss Ray Johnston has urged his team to show they mean business over the Easter weekend after suffering a 3-0 home loss to Calne Town on Saturday. "We had several players missing and it showed against a good team," said Johnston, who recalled Rich Gill, Nick Lawton and Joe Brimble to his ranks for their noon-time appointment with visiting Almondsbury today, and Monday's trip to Keynsham (also 12pm).