Brooks urges his players to ‘take their opportunity’ this weekend as Villa target unbeaten November
Saturday 24th November
Kick Off: 2.15pm
Kensham Park, Bradninch
Bradninch Villa: L L W W W
Elmore III: W W W W W
As we turn to the final weekend of November, many of us may be thinking about getting started on the Christmas shopping, sitting down to watch Home Alone or untangling those tree lights. However, the only thing on the mind of the Bradninch Villa manager is three points!
Leigh Brooks’ men have the chance to make it four victories in as many games and with it, cement November as the month that their season really kicked into fifth gear.
A total of 20 goals in the last three games has had a major impact on the mood in camp with consistent performances throughout all areas of the pitch, not to mention some standout showings from the silent assassin, Leo Scrace.
But as we enter the festive schedule, Brooks’ men will be faced with their toughest test in a while as they welcome an in-form Elmore III side to the hallowed turf of Kensham Park.
The Tiverton-based club are sitting pretty at fourth place in the league table, three points off top spot with a game in hand – so they will fancy themselves as title contenders this season.
The reverse fixture back in September saw Elmore III come out as 4-1 winners, but despite what it may say on paper, it was a hotly contested game up until the 70th minute where a red card to Will Birley resulted in a penalty to the home side, who went on to kill the game off in seconds.
But with Division 8 renowned for being unpredictable, Villa will be hoping to upset the odds this Saturday and lay a statement of intent to the clubs around them.
Brooks will have no option but to chop and change the XI that started in the 5-2 win against Millwey Rise II last weekend, with so many of the squad missing out due to personal commitments.
Lawrence Clark returns to the side after picking up a debut goal for the Villa last weekend. He’ll be in close company with Villa’s top goal-scorer, James Howe, who will be itching to get his shooting boots back on after missing the game against Millwey Rise II.
Back between the sticks is goalkeeper Jake White who after a week out will set his sights on a first clean sheet for the club since he joined three weeks ago.
Liam Upham re-joins the squad for the first time in a while, with familiar faces in Lee Jenner and Timon Brown for company as they look to sure up the defence.
Absentees: T. Scrace, S. Boyce, C. Goff, L. Holmes, H. Coombe, D. Tree, J. Lewis, T. Rhodes, L. Reed, J. Jenkins, J. Sims, J. England, G. Gardiner, D. Cork
Words from The Boss
Despite several names missing from the squad, Brooks is keen to see the positives that it will bring to the rest of his player, opening a chance for several names in the side.
Aware of Elmore’s impressive run in Division 8, the Villa manager has stressed to his players that there needs to be focus from the minute they pull on the green and black shirt.
“Preparation for our clash with Elmore III is very much still underway. There will be multiple changes to the starting XI with several players having other commitments, including our very own Dom Tree who will be taking part in a charity boxing event. Everyone at Bradninch FC would like to send their best wishes and luck to Dom, who is raising money for Cancer Research UK, and of course we wish him a speedy recovery after his time in the ring!
There will be opportunities this weekend for some fringe players to get valuable minutes, which gives me the perfect chance to try out some new pairings.
We’ve played three very good games of football this month and the players have impressed me, not only in training but in how they conduct themselves off and on the pitch. I’ll be looking for us to continue our good run of form regardless to having a very much changed squad. I expect to see the lads give 100% until the final whistle.
I’d also like to put these rumours to bed regarding my retirement from competitive football. I feel as good as I ever have and if I’m called upon to step in alongside my players, I will give it my all for as long as I’m involved in the game.”
All are welcome to come and support the boys this weekend as they aim to continue their winning ways. Kick off is at Kensham Park from 2.15pm.