Cullompton ready for big game at Bodmin
CULLOMPTON Rangers manager Mike Taylor knows his side are in for a tough test on Saturday at Bodmin Town, but is encouraged by his players upping their game for the big matches.
Champions Bodmin lead the standings by three points, and beat Cully 2-0 at Speeds Meadow in what was Taylor's first match at the helm following his switch from Witheridge.
And Taylor believes his players' overriding confidence will help him avenge that loss.
"We have that self-belief at the moment that means we will go into the game with guns blazing and really go for it," he said.
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"It seems to be that the harder the opponent and the better their players, the better our lads seem to play and the more they look forward to it.
"My first game in charge after my move from Witheridge was against Bodmin and we lost 2-0, and we are looking forward to playing them again.
"They are a very good team, very well-rounded and it will be a real challenge. I have played them a fair few times and know how they play so we will try to counteract their game plan."
Taylor is unsure if influential striker Sam Kemp will be available as he continue to recover from a knee injury.
"Sam Kemp was advised to have another week of rest by the physio so hopefully he will be ready too," said Taylor, whose side go into the match having not played at the weekend.
"He wouldn't have been ready if we had had a game this weekend but he might be ready for Bodmin."
Taylor's main concernw as illness in the squad, having been forced to cancel training last week and use a number of second team players in the 3-3 draw at Saltash United after a bug ripped through the team.
"We had to cancel training again because the bug was still doing the rounds and a couple of other players have picked it up since," said Taylor. "Maybe it was a blessing in disguise that we did not have a game this weekend because we would have really struggled to make it.
"But we will have a good blowout in training this week and hopefully be all set and ready for this weekend."
Witheridge boss Chris Vinnicombe says the club's bid for a top-five finish is back on track, ahead of Saturday's trip to Launceston.
The Edge Down Park side's charge up the table had been drailed of late, with the club being hit particularly badly by weather-related postponements before a 5-0 beating at the hands of Plymouth Parkway.
Another Plymouth side – Plymouth Argyle – then adminsitered a 7-2 thrashing in the Devon St Luke's Bowl quarter-finals last week.
But Withy returned to winning ways with a handsome 6-0 win over bottom side Penzance last time out, and Vinnicombe feels his side can now go to Launceston with confidence restored.
"We will go there with plenty of confidence and hopefully we can get another win," said the former Exeter City man.
"We have games in hand over all of the teams above us and, looking at the table, there is no reason why we can finish in the top five or six.
"If we get a lot of injuries and suspensions then it might be difficult but hopefully that won't happen."
Vinnicombe hailed his players' mental strength as they bounced back from consecutive defeats to register the win over Penzance.
Striker Jordan Charran bagged a hat-trick and substitute Steve Ebdy scored twice while Toby Nicholson netted an overhead kick to complete a comfortable win for Withy.
They responded to back-to-back defeats in fine style with what Vinnicombe labelled a 'workmanlike display'.
"I told the boys just to put the defeats behind them and just focus on playing as we have been all season and that is exactly what we did," he said.
"After our defeat against Plymouth I did wonder how we'd react if we conceded early, but we played very well.
"It was a bobbily pitch but we managed to move the ball faster than we did last week and got the ball in the right areas."
Bovey Tracey entertain Saltash United having notched up three straight league wins.
The Moorlanders won 2-0 at Falmouth Town last time out, thanks to goals from Hayden Roe and an own goal and superb display from Tom Brooks in goal. Kai Fisher was sent off.