Sykes calling for Cinderford to be more ruthless whilst frustrated with fixture disruptions ahead of Totton trip

Cinderford Town Manager Alex Sykes says his side haven’t been ruthless enough and admits his frustrations with recent fixture disruptions, as he gets ready to take his side to AFC Totton this weekend.

Saturday’s game will be Cinderford’s first since their narrow 2-1 defeat at Evesham United on New Year’s Day and Sykes admits that his side haven’t been able to build any momentum going into the New Year and says there were still positives to take out from the game at the Jubilee.

“The last few weeks, including Christmas, have been really frustrating in the fact that you still do all the preparations and then the games are off – that’s also for the lads, who over Christmas are being careful too!

But the bigger issue is that it staggers any momentum we could have through training to take into play and that’s been the biggest annoyance. We have only played twice in the last month – which for this time of year with the amount of fixtures is unheard of!

However, I think anyone who watched the Evesham game will hopefully have seen that we created enough to win two matches! The fact their keeper got Man of the Match says a lot.

Unfortunately we weren’t ruthless enough in either box though, conceding two sloppy goals and not punishing as well as we should have at the other end.

Credit to Evesham, especially the two young centre halves – who were excellent on the day, we couldn’t quite even up the scoreline or press on and win the game, so we need to learn from that,” said Sykes.

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In the defeat at Evesham, Sykes, Assistant Will Morford and newest addition to the coaching staff Tommy Callinan saw their side go close inside the first five minutes on a number of occasions before finding themselves 2-0 down in a quickfire double from the hosts.

Cinderford’s goal on the day came from new signing Karnell Chambers and Sykes has praised the former Gloucester City and Chippenham Town man for his impact in such a short period at the Causeway.

“Karnell has slotted straight into the squad and has brought with him exactly what I imagined he would,” said Sykes.

“He’s hungry to perform and that’s what I need from all of my squad currently. Even in the short amount of time we’ve been able to actually get together, his class and quality has also shone through,” Sykes added.

Saturday’s trip to Totton is another test for Cinderford Town ahead of home games against Mangotsfield at the start of February and a six-pointer showdown with bottom placed side Barnstaple Town next weekend.

Ahead of the weekend’s game Sykes has confirmed that he has been trying to add to his squad, which saw Captain Ash Davies depart for Tuffley Rovers last week, but has a full squad ahead of a tough fixture.

“It was with a heavy heart that we said good to Ash earlier this week. He has moved to join Muzzy [Neil Mustoe] at Tuffley Rovers, predominantly due to work commitments and we all know that balancing that with Southern League Football is an exceptionally tricky one.

We have had a number of Covid scares in the last couple of weeks, like most Non-League Managers – but as it stands we are looking as strong as possible going into the game. We are still actively looking to improve the depth of the squad and this is certainly an on-going task moving forwards.

But Saturday is another tough game against a top 5 side. They keep coming thick and fast in this league and as ever, there are no ‘gimmies!’

We’ve prepared the same and with an enforced break last weekend we’ve trained hard this week, we were able to get a CrossFit session in on Tuesday and then into our usual technical and tactical Thursday session, so we are well prepared,” Sykes added.

AFC Totton vs Cinderford Town in the Southern League Division One South, Saturday 15 January, kick off 15:00

READ MORE: Check out this weekend’s fixtures in and around Gloucestershire right her

Cover photo copyright Adrian Griffin