Saturday 13th October 2018
Brackley Town Saints v Tuffley Rovers
Hellenic League Premier Division
St James Park
Brackley Town Saints host Tuffley Rovers on Saturday at St James Park looking to continue their recent fine league form that has seen them take ten points from their last twelve possible, and having beaten their guests in the reverse fixture at the beginning of September will be hoping to take maximum points to cement their aspirations of being in the promotion push. However Tuffley currently sit fifteenth in the table which doesn’t reflect their recent league form, they have not lost away in the league since mid-August, and have won three of their last five league fixtures so this may not be as easy as it looks on paper. Saints currently sit joint second in the Hellenic League Premier Division table, and a win will take them top as the teams around them are either not playing or are in cup action this week-end.
Ahead of the game Sports Shots caught up with front men Chris Jordan & Ryan Knight to ask what the great start to the season has been down to, a weaker league or an improving squad, firstly Ryan:
I think the league is as strong as it’s always been, I just think that we have learned from the last couple of seasons and gained more experience, which has seen us perform more consistently to put the points on the board
Chris thinks both apply:
I think this season both those factors have come into play, the young group of players we have will develop with the more experience we gain. Some teams this season have not threatened us as much as they would have in previous years, and that’s credit to the team as we are a much tougher unit now
We asked Chris whether the targets for the season had changed at all:
As a team we said from the start we wanted promotion and with every game we play that target is becoming more & more doable, we know it’s a tough ask but our form is good and we are confident we can do something special this season if we can maintain this. A finish near the top would be a great achievement for us
Has Ryan seen his targets change since August?
I’m very happy with the start I’ve had personally, playing as striker which I played as for many years before joining Brackley, I just set small targets and then hope to keep beating them and then adjust again. Ten goals is my next target having scored six so far, and I’d like to achieve this soon so I can then move the target up again. I just make sure I put in one hundred percent every game and leave everything out on the pitch
How does Ryan think Chris has performed so far this term?
I think he’s had a good start to the season, scoring a few goals and contributing to the team well, he brings another dimension to the squad with his technical ability & strength and this shows out on the pitch
And Chris on Ryan:
I think most in our team will agree Knighty is a very fast & hardworking player, he chases everything and gets his foot in, this season he’s started adding goals to his game which is great to see and it’s really helped the team out, he’s started really well
Does Chris think Saints can keep the run going, and who are their main threats at the top?
We are confident in our ability and we have a strong squad this season, it’s early in the season but as long as we continue enjoying our football we are sure the results will follow. Ascot have started very well this season so it will be interesting to see how we do when we play each other, Wantage & Binfield are good sides and I’d expect them to be near the top
Ryan also thinks it’s possible:
I believe if we continue the hard work and keep the determination we have started with there is no reason why we can’t stay towards the top of the league, but I know we’ll take each game as it comes & not get carried away. Obviously Wantage are a very strong side, and will be there or thereabouts at the end
We asked Ryan how the national cup competitions went for Brackley this season:
I think we were a bit unlucky this year, taking Hadley back for a replay in the FA Cup when we were unlucky not to beat them in the first game as we were the better side throughout the game but just couldn’t get the goal to show it. The same applied with the FA Vase but we now move on and concentrate on the games coming up
Chris isn’t looking back too much either:
It’s difficult to say why we didn’t do well, we haven’t really dwelled too much on going out of the cup matches, possibly a lack of concentration with these matches as we conceded late on two occasions
We asked Chris what it’s like to play at St James Park, a National League North set up:
We are lucky to have such a great set up, the pitch is in excellent condition and it’s a pleasure to play on. It really does suit our style of play, we like to get the ball down as we have lots of technical players, playing with confidence on the pitch means no one is nervous receiving the ball and there’s a real opportunity to express yourself
Ryan likes a mid-week fixture:
We are very fortunate to have St James Park as our home ground, we all love playing there and all look forward to our home games, there is nothing better in this league than a game under lights on the carpet like pitch at Brackley
Another win on Tuesday this week at Shrivenham, how did Ryan see the game?
I thought Tuesday night was a very good professional performance, we looked comfortable even on a small bobbly pitch, two good finishes from Charlie (Kille) & we probably should have scored more than two!
It was a good win on a difficult pitch, we controlled the game from start to finish and did well not to let Shrivenham into the game at any point, and with a clean sheet which is always a bonus
Finally, looking ahead to Tuffley on Saturday how does Chris view the opposition?
We know we can’t take any game for granted in this league and we’ll have to be fully at it again to get what we want from the match. We have to go and earn the right to play by getting on the ball how we have been recently, right from the off. It won’t be an easy game, we know from a few weeks ago from the game at Tuffley that we could have easily lost that day, they opened us up on several occasions but we took our chances when we had them and it was enough, however we know we’ll have to be a tighter unit going into this game. I think it would be naïve for us to expect to beat any team in this league, we have to approach every game with the right mentality no matter where the opposition are in the table, as we will do this Saturday
Ryan echoed the sentiment of never taking a win for granted:
We’re expecting a tough game this week, we had a very tight game away this season against them where if they’d have taken their chances, we may have come away from there with nothing. But we’ve been performing well the last few games and are full of confidence so we’ll be looking to take this into Saturday. We don’t ever expect to beat anyone, this is a highly competitive league from top to bottom, and if we ever go into games expecting to win then we are playing a very dangerous game!
Sports Shots would like to thank both Chris & Ryan for their time this week