We can sustain a title challenge, says Bishop Sutton boss Lee Lashenko
BISHOP Sutton boss Lee Lashenko believes his players have what it takes to maintain their challenge for the Toolstation Western League Premier Division title.
In danger of losing touch with the main contenders earlier this month, Sutton beat leaders Brislington 1-0 in midweek to put themselves firmly back in the championship race.
And an upbeat Lashenko insists his team can improve upon recent top-six finishes and compete for silverware this season.
He said: "There is a lot more grit about us this year. We've always been pleasing on the eye, but we are now prepared to dig in and scrap for points. We are six points off the top, but have two games in hand and still have to play Brislington again. Our fate is in our own hands."
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But Lashenko has a warning for his players ahead of tomorrow's home game against lowly Radstock.
He said: "Beating Brislington will count for nothing if we drop points to Radstock. We will give the opposition the utmost respect."
John Lock returns, but Kye Holly and skipper Sam Payne are still missing.
Brislington will attempt to bounce back at home to Street. But manager Jeff Meacham insists his players must first win the physical battle.
He said: "We lost at their place earlier in the season and they bullied us. A few teams have tried it since and we have learned from it. If we can match them physically, then we have that bit of quality that can make a difference."
Cadbury Heath boss Andy Black reckons his title-chasing players will need to be at their best if they are to return from Buckland with anything.
He said: "They are a very good side and going there will be a big test for us.
"Buckland are playing catch-up and we know that, if we take points off them, it will make their task that much harder."
Bristol Manor Farm make the long trek to play Gillingham, a team manager John Black describes as "among the best we have played this season".
Black is in the market for a central defender and is trying to add to his squad before the weekend. Geraint Williams misses the trip to Dorset owing to suspension.
Longwell Green Sports host bottom club Barnstaple in the first of three successive home games that offer them a chance to climb the table.
General manager John Gibbs said: "The next few matches give us an opportunity to pick up some points and improve our position. We're working hard to make the pitch playable and are hopeful of getting the game on."
Winterbourne United have signed former Taunton goalkeeper Chris Watts to provide cover for first-choice Chris Simsek and he goes straight into the squad at Bridport.
Keen to bolster their squad in a bid to move clear of relegation trouble, United plan to make further additions before the end of the month.
First Division leaders Hengrove Athletic are seeking a return to winning ways at home to lowly Elmore after surrendering their long unbeaten run at Bradford Town last weekend.
Manager Jamie Hillman said: "Too many players had an off day and we just didn't perform."
Ricky Charlton is available and is expected to go back into the team.
Oldland Abbotonians this week lost the services of centre-back Luke Bryan to Premier Division Radstock, but manager Paul Britton has found a replacement in Jordan Richards.
Right-back Connor Kingdom and midfielder Aaron Marshall have recovered from injury and are in line to return for Keynsham Town against high-riding Chard on the Crown Field's all-weather pitch.