Bishops Cleeve manager Stephen Cleal admits it has been a frustrating month as his side get ready for just their third game since the August Bank Holiday Monday win against Longlevens, this weekend.
In a drawn out run of games the Mitres are set to play their first game for 11 days on Saturday when they host Brackley Town Saints at Kayte Lane and it will also be their first Saturday fixture since their 4-1 defeat against Kidlington in the FA Cup on the 24th August and Cleal admits that the lack of games could lead to frustrations during what is expected to be a harsh winter.
“For one reason or another at one point it looked like our only league game of September would be Tuesday’s trip to Lydney, but thankfully Brackley were happy to reverse the fixture this weekend – so that’s a good thing.
As I’ve said before to Severn Sport it’s frustrating that we’ve had so many Saturdays without a game at a time where the weather doesn’t come into play as much, so if / when that happens that will be when the true frustrations will be felt,” Cleal added.
However, despite the lack of action for his side, Cleal has sat back and seen the side’s around the top of the table either falter or not play themselves meaning the Mitres remain in the top four, a position they finished in last term. But whilst Cleal knows there is a lot of football to play, he admits it has been great to see a strong start.
“Really it doesn’t matter where you sit in September as there is lots of football left to play and lots of good sides in the league, but we’re pleased with where we are at – especially compared to last year as we’ve got five more points having played one game less, so we have to be pleased with that,” said Cleal.
In the last few weeks Saturday’s opposition Brackley Town Saints have played a number of Cleeve’s local rivals and have lost to both Longlevens and Lydney Town, whilst claiming a 4-1 win at Brimscombe & Thrupp and after their performances last season, Cleal is expected a very difficult game.
“Brackley are a good side who like to play football the right way so I’m expecting a tough game -like the three we had against them last year.
I was able to watch them at Lydney on Saturday and I wasn’t surprised at the quality in both sides, so we know we have to prepare right and be on it from the first minute. Brackley have the continuity as they’ve not missed a week where as we’ve played two games this month, so we need to be ready from minute one.”
Ahead of Saturday’s game Cleal has confirmed that Liam Wright should be fit after missing the cup win over Tytherington Rocks, whilst the Mitres will be without Rich Thwaite due to suspension and have doubts over Lee Davis’ fitness as he struggles with a knee injury.
Cleal has also confirmed that Harrison Iddles should return to training in the next week or so after a recent spell on the sidelines.
Bishops Cleeve welcome Brackley Town Saints to Kayte Lane in the Hellenic Premier this weekend; kick off 15:00