We can step it up even more, says Yate boss Rob Cousins
YATE Town boss Rob Cousins has told his players they need to rediscover their best form if they are to retain their place in the play-offs for the remainder of the season.
The Bluebells have lost only once in their last 21 games, hold the final play-off place and are six points clear of closest rivals Paulton Rovers.
But Cousins said: "I don't think we have been playing as well as we can do and we have had to work hard to pick up points in recent weeks.
"We have also been getting that little bit of luck at times that evaded us earlier in the season, but that only lasts so long.
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"I think the players still have it in them to go up a couple of gears and I'd like to see them step it up over the next few weeks.
"We've done well to get ourselves into a good position, but, because we are where we are, it is natural for other teams to try that little bit harder to beat us."
Cousins is still without Tom Seery (hamstring), but Mitchell Page is rated as 50/50 after going over on his ankle during the warm-up before Tuesday night's victory.
Geraint Bater is available again after suspension and striker Karim Rendall returns to the squad after missing the last game.
Paulton will be aiming to keep up their pursuit of Yate when they host bottom-of-the-table Bishop's Cleeve at Winterfield Road.
Manager Nick Bunyard is boosted by the returns of defender Stuart Tovey following a three-match suspension, Stuart Pearson, who returns from holiday, and striker James Billing.
Mangotsfield United boss Richard Thompson is already making preparations for next season. Thompson is guiding the Cossham Street-based side through a campaign of transition after taking charge last summer, but is making an early start to make sure Mangotsfield improve next season.
They still need another couple of wins to be certain of avoiding relegation, but the recent signings of striker Dave Stone, from Clevedon Town, and defender Jordan Walker, from Bath City, are all part of Thompson's longer-term plans.
"I'm pleased we have got Jordan and Dave on board," said Thompson, who added: "I'd like to have a look at one or two others before the end of this season.
"We still need a few more wins over the next couple of weeks, but it is important that I start looking ahead to next season now.
"I didn't get the chance to do that last season because I didn't take charge until the summer, so it was difficult to put a side together in such a short space of time.
"Having the time to plan and prepare makes a lot of difference and I'm confident we will be much-improved next season."
Mangotsfield will attempt to bounce back from a 2-1 defeat at Sholing when they host Clevedon Town tomorrow.
Stone will not make a debut against the club he joined from after a 'gentleman's agreement' between the two managers, while Thompson is still without Neil Arndale (knee) and Ryan Bath and Kyle Tooze (both suspended).
Kyle Thomas faces a lengthy injury lay-off with snapped ankle ligaments, but there was at least some positive developments regarding midfielder Todd Winter.
Winter broke his leg during the recent game against Didcot Town, but has had a successful operation and could be fit to return in time for the start of next season.