PERSHORE Town will have one familiar face – and two new names – to help begin a push away from the danger zone in Midland League Division One.
Manager Quentin Townsend had to pull on his boots once more at the age of 40 in midweek to bolster a depleted defence as Town bowed out of the FA Vase at Highgate United after a roller-coaster contest at The Coppice.
The priority now turns to kick-starting their league campaign as they face a demanding run against four of the promotion favourites in successive games, with new signings Alfie Bloomer and Aaron Xavier looking to make an impact.
Teenage front-runner Bloomer joined from Alcester Town but had made his first impression last season with Bromsgrove Sporting, while left back Xavier has signed from Littleton.
Townsend, whose playing CV began at Wolves and included spells at Bromsgrove, Evesham and Hereford, admits he could still have a role on the pitch, especially with skipper Shaun Griffiths out for six to eight weeks with quad muscle injury, Dane Aldington facing the prospect of being out for the season with a knee injury and Steve Webb away.
The boss felt Saturday’s 4-1 league defeat at Uttoxeter Town – after having Daniel Priest sent off – and the 6-2 Vase exit at Midland Premier Highgate – after leading 2-1 until the hour mark – failed to reflect his side’s performance but it will not get any easier as they visit title favourites and table-toppers Walsall Wood on Saturday before facing high-flyers Atherstone Town, Leicester Road and Lichfield.
“It might get worse before it gets better when you look at that fixture lists against what I would consider four of the best teams in the league,” said Townsend.
“I’m under no illusions – we need to get ourselves out of the situation we are in. The league table doesn’t lie.
“But after this run of fixtures we go into November and December against teams where we expect to compete.
“The funny thing is that when we play the better teams we seem to be able to raise the bar.”
That was the case on Tuesday at Highgate when Pershore, having been reinstated into the competition after Whitchurch Alport fielded an ineligible player in their meeting last month, impressed for long spells.
Goals from Pavel Tomczak – his fourth in five appearances – and Jamie Clarke – his ninth in as many games – put Pershore 2-1 in front but they tired and the Gate rallied with goals from Marco Addagio (3), Josh Hawker (2) and Lei Brown.
Townsend had to play 90 minutes with a revamped back line including Chris Whittaker and Dean Waldron but they had coped well until the late flurry.
“I was a bit of a calming influence on the pitch and that helped,” said Townsend. “I still play in vets football and, without blowing my own trumpet, I feel I could still do a job but I want to focus on being the manager. It might be I need to play a bit more especially while we have got players missing.”
Town will hope to have Steve Walker back available on Saturday after food poisoning ruled him out against Highgate, while Xavier, cup tied in midweek, can also feature.