Blythe praises Shortwood’s team spirit off the pitch for good start on it ahead of Fairford trip

Shortwood United Joint Manager Matt Blythe has praised his side’s team spirit on and off the pitch is helping Shortwood start the season positively, ahead of this weekend’s trip to Fairford Town in the FA Vase. 

The former Southern League side’s only defeat this season was away at Dunstable Town in the FA Cup and are looking to build on two eye-catching results in the two matches that followed the defeat, when they head to Cinder Lane this weekend.

After beating Tuffley Rovers 5-0 in the First Qualifying Round of the FA Vase, Shortwood geared up for this weekend’s tie with a 3-1 win over Hellenic Division One West title favourites Malvern Town, a result that many didn’t see coming.

Going into this weekend’s game we asked Blythe about whether the win should have been expected considering how strong his side have looked so far.

“The win against Malvern was pleasing,” Blythe told us. “They are widely tipped to win the league and rightly so. I thought they really were an excellent outfit and it was a very close game and they had some really good opportunities.

The major difference between the two sides were that we took our chances. I imagine they felt they had enough chances to get something out of the game, but even though we rode our luck at times take nothing away from our boys, they put in a great shift,” Blythe added.

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Over the last couple of weeks we have spoke to fellow Joint Manager Jason Scrivens and Shortwood defender Tom Hoskins and they both mentioned the togetherness at Shortwood United this season, as they look to rebuild after a tough couple of seasons and Blythe echoed the sentiments, whilst acknowledging it is still very early into the season.

“We’ve had a decent start to the season but it’s very early days. We were a bit wary of how long it will take for the lads to gel together as we’ve probably made 12 or so new signings from last season.

But the team spirit off the pitch has been great and I think that’s helped us on the pitch too. As I said though, it’s early days and we’re all still getting to know each other.” 

Shortwood head to Cinder Lane looking for their third eye-catching win in a row and they take on a Fairford side reeling after two defeats in the last seven days, both in games they were expected to win.

But going into the game Blythe admits that he expects Fairford to provide a tough test for his side, who will be missing no fewer than 7 players for the tie.

“Fairford will be a huge challenge for us, especially at their place,” Blythe said. “They’ve started the season very strongly and with the signings they’ve made I’m sure they’re looking to have a very good season in the Hellenic Prem.

Unfortunately we’ve picked up a few injuries in the last couple of games and we’ve got 7 first team lads missing for the game, so the squad is really stretched this weekend and we have to be mindful of looking after a few of the lads. But it’s a great opportunity for others to come in and make an impact so we go there looking to put up a decent fight and we’ll see what happens. It’s a great game for us to go and enjoy.” Blythe added.

Shortwood United travel to Fairford Town in the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Vase on Saturday; kick off 15:00

READ MORE: Check out the full list of fixtures in and around Gloucestershire this weekend