Tuffley Rovers goalkeeper Luke Merchant has called on his side to remain hard to beat at home and to build on the confidence gained from keeping their first clean sheet of the season when they host Virginia Water at the weekend.
The former Cirencester Town man made a number of saves in Rovers’ 3-0 win against Bourton Rovers in the Floodlit Cup on Tuesday night and couldn’t hide his delight at finally seeing his side get a shut out this season.
“Keeping a clean sheet on Tuesday felt great for me personally as well as for the team.
We know the importance of keeping clean sheets and the confidence it can give us going into the next game and hopefully we can take our confidence into the weekend.
Letting in any goal is frustrating no matter if it’s a 25 yard screamer or a tap in and as a defensive unit we focus a lot on getting ourselves into good habits and being solid at the back, so conceding a goal is always disappointing for us.” Merchant added.
The clean sheet came at an ideal time for Merchant, who had the bad luck of conceding two soft goals against Reading City last weekend, and he showed how much it meant to him on Tuesday by looking up and roaring in delight at full time. Between he and Alex Avenell, Tuffley had failed to keep a clean sheet in their 22 games prior to the cup tie.
Merchant admits that whilst he knows mistakes happen as a goalkeeper, a clean sheet always makes things better.
“Being a goalkeeper you know that if you make a mistake then it’s more than likely going to end up in a goal,” said Merchant.
“That’s just the nature of the position so you have to learn to dust yourself off and go again. Tuesday’s clean sheet was a good way to put Saturday right and we fully deserved it.”
This weekend Tuffley are scheduled to host Virginia Water in the Hellenic Premier and Merchant believes that Rovers will be going into the game knowing they can make Glevum Park a fortress.
Tuffley have only lost twice in their opening 10 home fixtures in all competitions and have won three out of their last five at Glevum Park.
“The boys will be coming into the game on Saturday full of confidence and hunger!” Merchant said.
“We know the how important playing at home is and is where we know we must pick up points. We are a hard side to beat at Glevum Park and we have shown that as only Flackwell and Fairford have beaten us at home,” Merchant added.
Tuffley Rovers host Virginia Water at Glevum Park in the Hellenic Premier on Saturday 30th November; kick off 15:00 (weather permitting)