Lee Lashenko confident Bishop Sutton can match Cadbury Heath
BISHOP Sutton boss Lee Lashenko insists his in-form team can knock Cadbury Heath off their pedestal in tomorrow's all-Premier Division first-round tie in the Les Phillips Cup.
Andy Black's Heath went to the top of the table with a 9-2 hammering of Melksham on Wednesday night, but Lashenko and his players are not fazed by reputations.
He said: "We go into most games as favourites and will play as though we are, even if others feel we will not be this time."
Sutton enjoyed a 100 per cent record in October and Lashenko said: "This is a game between two in-form sides who are not only going for the cup but the league as well. Anything can happen and I see no reason why we cannot win."
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Holders Bristol Manor Farm travel to Premier Division rivals Odd Down and manager John Black reckons his team will have their work cut out if they are to successfully defend the trophy they won last season.
Only two of the players who helped defeat Willand in the final in May remain and Black has since undertaken a major rebuilding programme.
Although the Portway club has recovered from a poor start to win five of their last seven outings, Black insists Odd Down are favourites to progress.
He said: "They have some very good players and are what I call an under-achieving side. Odd Down are capable of beating anyone in this league on their day and this will be a very tough game for us."
Midfielder Geraint Williams is ruled out by damaged ankle ligaments, but Jamie Turner and Scott Feltham return.
If Hallen have focussed on the Toolstation League Premier Division title in recent seasons, that is certainly no longer the case and manager Paul Owen insists he is taking tomorrow's home tie against Keynsham Town seriously.
He said: "We want to compete on all fronts this season, rather than just go for it in the league. We are putting more emphasis on doing well in cup competitions and we want to follow up our 6-0 win over Welton in the last round with another good performance.
"We will treat Keynsham with the same respect we did Welton and, hopefully, we will come through. We've won our last three games and are heading in the right direction."
Lodged in the Premier Division relegation zone, Winterbourne United's players will welcome a break from league action when they take on First Division side Corsham.
"We're going through a bit of a sticky patch and playing in the cup without the pressure of having to pick up league points will help the players," said United spokesman Kevin Evans.
"Hopefully, we can get back to winning ways in the cup and that will kick-start us in the league."
Hengrove boss Jamie Hillman is adamant league position counts for little when it comes to the cup.
First Division leaders Hengrove host lowly Shrewton, and Hillman said: "We cannot take anything for granted.
"Although the league table suggests we should win, things do not always work out that way in cup competitions.
"We beat them 4-0 a few weeks ago, but they have changed their manager since then and will be looking to impress him."
Manager Paul Britton believes Oldland Abbotonians can cause a shock at Premier Division Larkhall Athletic – providing they are at their best.
He said: "We may play in the division below, but we will have a chance if we play at the absolute top of our game. We are not looking to be second best.
"We want to be in the next round and we have to be at our best to do it and hope that Larkhall have an off-day."
Roman Glass St George boss Roger Hudd believes his team is under pressure to beat Premier Division Street, despite being underdogs.
He said: "There is still pressure to do well, despite the fact we play in the league below. Form is a fickle thing and we are on a good run at the moment. We don't want to suffer a setback. We are underdogs, but only because they are the home side.
"I'm confident we can give a good account of ourselves."
In-form Longwell Green Sports host Elmore.
In the Toolstation League First Division, Portishead manager Dave Pettitt is hoping his side can produce a more gutsy defensive performance when they travel to Shepton Mallet..
Forced into service as a player owing to injuries, Pettitt's team lost 4-0 to Chard and he admitted: "We capitulated.
"Fortunately, we have players returning this week and I don't envisage having to play again."