24th Feb, 2017

Home form will be key, insists Robins boss Collicutt

Evesham Editorial 17th Feb, 2017

PAUL COLLICUTT will urge Evesham United to view the visit of Winchester City tomorrow (Saturday) as the chance to put a huge dent into one of their play-off rivals’ prospects.

After the controversial abandonment of last Saturday’s fixture against Supermarine due to a floodlight failure, the Robins have slipped to third in the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One South & West with the teams below them having games in hand.

With Collicutt suggesting runaway table-toppers Hereford are ‘unstoppable’ in their bid for a second successive title, he believes there are ‘seven or eight’ teams now chasing the four play-off berths.

Winchester lie ninth, 13 points behind the Robins, with a game in hand, but Collicutt’s men have a raft of games against their closest rivals at the Jubilee Stadium and need to make home advantage count.

“We’ve got 12 games left – six at home and six away and those home games include Taunton, Swindon Supermarine and Mangotsfield, as well as Hereford,” he said.

“It’s certainly a hard run-in and our home form is going to have a big impact on whether we make the play-offs.

“Nobody is going to catch Hereford for the title so there are seven or eight clubs all chasing for the four play-off places.

“It’s going to get tense over the next nine or ten weeks but all we can do is concentrate on what we can do.

“If we play as well as I know we can play, we’re going to have a big chance.”

Evesham are unbeaten in six games but have drawn the last three and Collicutt wants his players to be even more attack-minded.

That will set up a fascinating duel on Saturday when a Robins side, who are the joint third highest scorers in the division, face a Winchester side who have registered just two draws in their 29 games so far, winning 15 and losing 12.

“I played a lot of my career as a defender but now I’m a manager I know how important goals are,” Collicutt added.

“Goals win you games and having drawn the last three I would rather have won two and lost one.

“We always try to play entertaining, attractive football and you can see that from our goalscoring record.

“But Saturday will be tough. Winchester, quite rightly, will feel they have still got a chance of the play-offs.

“They are an attacking side and in Craig Feeney they have got one of the best strikers in the league. We’re going to have to defend well – and take our chances.”

Evesham, though, are likely to have to continue their promotion push without Sam Pearson and Joe Turley, Collicutt fears their injuries will rule them out for the rest of the season.

Skipper Linden Dovey and Lewis Binns will remain sidelined tomorrow but have a chance of being fit for next Saturday’s game at home to Slimbridge, while Carl Brown is set to return tomorrow.