Thompson calls on players to show they care
MANGOTSFIELD United boss Richard Thompson has challenged his players to use the remaining weeks of the campaign to show him that they are worthy of a place at the club beyond the end of the season.
Thompson was "massively disappointed" to watch his side suffer back-to-back defeats at the hands of Shortwood United and Cirencester Town in the last seven days and he added: "We always knew this season would be about rebuilding, but after the last two defeats I'm beginning to ask myself: do I have to start again from scratch?
"I don't like to be harsh on players, but some of them are just not coming up to scratch at the moment. It is important for me now to really nail down who is up for the challenge. Which players can I trust to be consistent and to give there all every week?
"Good things are happening off-the-pitch, which suggests to me that things will be a lot easier for us next season, but the question I have to find the answer to is: which players want to be a part of it?"
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Mangotsfield are back at Cossham Street tomorrow for a clash against struggling Winchester City but will be without striker Ben Hunt, who has a hamstring injury.
Paulton Rovers boss Nick Bunyard is confident that his players will get their play-off bid back on track quickly after back-to-back defeats.
Bunyard has seen his side suffer at the hands of title-chasing duo Hungerford Town and Poole Town to drop out of the top six ahead of tomorrow's clash with North Leigh at Winterfield Road.
The 2-1 defeat to Poole was particularly galling after Bunyard saw his side dominate proceedings despite being reduced to ten-men following a straight red card for defender Stuart Tovey in the 35th minute. The manager said: "Even when we were down to ten men, I still felt we were the team in the ascendency before they went and scored a fluke of a goal in the last minute.
"It was disappointing, but there are plenty of positive things that I saw in the performances and I think the lads are capable of bouncing back quickly. It is very tight in the chase for that final play-off spot, so we need to win a couple of games quickly to keep the pressure on."
A mini-injury crisis sees first-team regulars Stuart Pearson, Ben Lacy, Ben Osman and James Billings all missing tomorrow, but Steve Bridges is back in the squad and Bunyard has also completed a permanent deal to sign winger Brandon Barnes from Chippenham.
Yate Town moved into the play-off places after securing their ninth victory on the bounce by seeing off Wimborne Town 3-1 at Lodge Road on Tuesday night.
Rob Cousins' side, who were bottom of the table as little as two months ago, will have their promotion credentials tested to the limit when they visit leaders Hungerford Town tomorrow.
"They are the league leaders but we've got to go there with no fear," said Cousins. "It will be difficult to keep the winning run going but we'll strive to do so.
"We've beaten them at home and they will be just as wary of us. Hopefully we will come away with something."
Cousins, however, will go to Bulpit Lane without hard-working striker Mitchell Page, who will be out for around a month with an ankle injury, so assistant manager Michael Meaker is primed to start after scoring on Tuesday night.
Clevedon Town boss Mickey Bell will tell his players they need to start killing teams off ahead of tomorrow's clash with Taunton Town at the Hand Stadium.
An impressive 3-1 victory over Sholing last Saturday was followed by a 2-1 midweek defeat against Cinderford Town.
"It was one of those games," said Bell. "We scored an early goal and then we went on to miss a penalty, hit the post twice and miss numerous chances.
"Then we switched off for a 20-minute spell during which Cinderford scored two goals and we were chasing the game after that. I'm happy with the overall performance level, but at big moments in each penalty box we are letting ourselves down.
"It is an area we need to work hard to improve."