MATCH PREVIEW: Tavistock aim for a win hat-trick at Bishops Cleeve Lambs keen to keep hold of their play-off place

THE unpredictable nature of the Southern League Division One certainly makes for an interesting competition and ahead of Saturday’s trip to Bishops Cleeve, Tavistock manager Stuart Henderson has warned his players to be on their guard after back-to-back victories.

Those wins against Lymington and Cinderford have lifted the Lambs back into the play-off places, yet Tavi boast a strange record of ten defeats from their 24 games so far! In fact, they are one of three teams in the top half that have lost ten times this season, with 12 wins and two draws as well. Tavi head to a Bishops Cleeve side that are 13th in the table, and will be looking to gain revenge on Tavi after a 4-1 hammering at Langsford Park earlier in the season.

“I think Bishops Cleeve are a good side and when I have watched them, they play really good football. They are strong at home, so I am expecting a really difficult game, especially as it is on a plastic pitch,” Henderson said. “We had a good result against them earlier in the season, but I think we caught them on an off day. I know, speaking to other managers, that they’ve been impressed with the way they play and they certainly move the ball around well.

“Playing on a surface like that will be difficult because, when we went to Hamworthy and played on a plastic pitch, we really struggled and I am not really looking forward to it because I don’t think it’s a true game and it does jibe that a team who plays on it week in, week out has a massive advantage. We just have to go there and do what we’ve been doing and try to keep going this mini run we are on, build up some more momentum and go from there. Then we have another midweek game at home to Bashley, who had a great result on Tuesday night.

“It’s that time of the season now – February, March and April, where games come thick and fast and it would be great if we can hover around the play-off positions. So many teams have so much to play for. What we are hopeful of is that all those teams down to about 12th are saying the same thing. If we can challenge in and around the play-off places, then it will make for an exciting end to the season.”

With everyone beating each other this season, Henderson will be hoping his side can remain consistent over the last 14 games and finish in that top five.

“It’s good because, apart from Sholing, who have shown that consistency and Totton, who have a few games in hand, anyone really can beat anyone, but the good thing for us is that we now have everyone back in the squad, which we haven’t had up till now.” he said. “We trimmed the squad with Josh (Robins) and Cal (Watson) departing and we have some senior players on the bench but, like I said in my last interview – and I emphasised it before the game – the team will be picked on performance.”