EARLY October was the last time Buckland Athletic achieved back-to-back Western League wins – something they’ll be aiming to change when they entertain Saltash United tomorrow (3pm).
The Ashes came out on top when the sides last met at Homers Heath – winning 4-2 in the Les Phillips Cup on February 23.
With the Bucks sitting 12th in the standings, and having won 2-0 away at Wellington last weekend, manager Paul Froude has a near full strength squad to pick from ahead of their 27th league match of the season.
‘Webs [Josh Webber] is unavailable and we’ll have to assess Rhys Fuller’s knee to see if he can play,’ said Froude. ‘Other than that we’re looking pretty strong.
‘It’s natural when you lose to a team and play them again in quick succession that you want to avenge the defeat.
‘Last week we turned up at Wellington, did the right things and it paid off – so it’ll be a case of us doing that again tomorrow.’
Elsewhere, Newton Abbot Spurs manager Marc Revell is already looking towards next season ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Elburton Villa in the Peninsula Premier East (3pm).
The Spurs are exceeding pre-season expectations up in fourth position, and won’t have too many selection worries for their trip to the 15th-placed Plymouth side.
‘I want to use these final nine games as a bit of a springboard for next season,’ Revell revealed. ‘It’s time to find out a bit more about my squad.
‘Like all Plymouth sides, Elburton are going to be physical and strong in an effort to intimidate my younger lads.
‘I have a strong squad to work with, which is good because I don’t want to take away from the reserves with them having a big local derby.
‘Tom Johns and Joe Wise will stay with them, and Callum Noyce will stay with me. He really made a difference when he came on at Sidmouth last week.’
Tuesday night’s Brixham postponement means that Bovey Tracey now haven’t kicked a ball in anger since February 12.
Will Small’s 13th-placed side travel to second-bottom Sidmouth Town tomorrow (3pm). The Vikings are unbeaten since Ottery St Mary’s manager and players relocated to Manstone Lane in December.
‘Bovey have already played Ottery twice this season, and I think they were the two heaviest defeats we’ve had,’ said Small.
‘I’m expecting a tough game. Everyone knows that their position in the table is not a reflection of the squad they have now.
‘Neither team has anything to lose as they aren’t in relegation trouble, so it’ll be a free hit and hopefully a chance for the lads to get out, blow the cobwebs away and enjoy a game of football.’
Liam Jones isn’t playing down the importance of his Teignmouth side’s fixture run-in as they entertain Bere Alston United in the Devon Football League South & West tomorrow (3pm).
The Teigns are top of the standings, with a four-point buffer between themselves and second-placed Mount Gould.
‘We can try to play it down but it’s effectively six cup finals for us now,’ said manager Jones. ‘If we put in good performances and win all six we win the league, it’s as simple as that.
‘We still have interest in the league cup as well, but we’ll take the games one by one and continue to set targets.
‘During my time as a player I was lucky enough to have a few seasons challenging for cups and titles, but there are lots when you aren’t. We have to enjoy these seasons.’
Over in Newton Abbot, local derby bragging rights are up for grabs in the DFL South & West as Buckland Athletic Reserves make the short trip to Newton Abbot Spurs Reserves (3pm).
According to visiting manager Craig Hutcheson, the Bucks’ 1-0 win over Bere Alston last Saturday stands them in good stead for this one.
‘I’m pleased that we’re going into it off the back of a good win,’ said Hutcheson. ‘Spurs have been in good form too – they started to pick up results around the same time we did.
‘There is a sense of wanting some revenge for the defeat on the first night of the season. You never want to lose to the same side twice in a campaign.
‘We have a tough fixture run-in including games against Mount Gould and Teignmouth, but our target at the start of the season was to finish in the top six. That hasn’t changed.’
The Spurs, on the other hand, go into the game off the back of two straight defeats – although as far as manager George Dumas is concerned, confidence is still high.
‘Our last two results have been pretty disappointing,’ admitted Dumas. ‘We’ve had a few injuries so it’s been a bit of a battle.
‘It’s all about stepping up a bit more and this weekend will be a big test for us – one which we’re feeling confident about.
‘We’re looking positive and strong. Everyone involved is right up for it with local pride on the line, and hopefully there will be a few people down there to watch.’
Further down the DFL South & West standings, Ipplepen Athletic have the chance to move within a point of second-bottom Paignton Saints tomorrow afternoon.
Pens have two games in hand on the Torbay side, and a win away at PAFC FITC Development would do them the world of good as they look to haul themselves off the foot of the 11-team table.
Kick-off at the Manadon Sports Hub is at 3pm.