|Ashford Town's clash with Burgess Hill
Town is a great opportunity to climb the Ryman League Division One table
insists joint-manager John Cumberbatch, writes Stephen McCartney.
With both side's languishing in the bottom five, Cumberbatch is looking
for three points at Homelands and to find the back of the net after losing
their last two games 2-0.
In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk
, he said: "It is a great opportunity. These games are
important, this is where I expect us to pick up points and climb (the
Cumberbatch, however, admits goalscoring has been a problem for his side,
after failing to find the back of the net six times this term.
"We have done work (on the training ground) but not as much as time
allows," he said. "We've worked with the strikers because
goalscoring has been a problem for us throughout and although we were
aware of this earlier on it's only now we've had a chance to focus on it.
"Things don't change over night but we'll certainly be looking for
And next Tuesday night, Cumberbatch takes his side to a club he spent six
years playing for in the early 1980's - looking for better luck.
"I still remember the game at Dulwich Hamlet last season, which was
another one of those where we played well but lost to a sucker
punch," he recalled.
Cumberbatch, however, defended his decision to use 26 players in first
team action this season, but admitted it doesn't look as bad as it seems.
"This stage of the season we feel we are getting to a settled
squad," he said. "It must be remembered that although Tim
(Thorogood) and I weren't jumping up and down as if we were frantic at the
beginning of the season, we did have to add to a very depleted squad with
the summer lock out I've mentioned several times before.
"I don't think anybody's aware of the affect it had on our plans from
the squad point of view, and I find I have to keep repeating myself as to
the work we have to do to get the squad together.
"However, with four of the 26 that we've used having left and with
one reserve team player in that group along with one or two long term
injuries, that gives you a settled squad of roughly 20, which is quite a
good size, and miraculously within the club's budget."
Steve Humphrey (business commitments) is back in
contention but Gary Croxton will be having a fitness test before the game.
However, long term injury victim Joby Thorogood and Darren Raymond miss
But the Orpington resident predicts a better winter for Ashford's long
"I've said before that I would expect us to be around midtable by
Christmas," he said.
"I say these things knowing that I'm there to be shot down but then I
don't believe in being pessimistic unless I have firm grounds for that
pessimism in which I then become a realist and tell it as it is.
"The over riding important factor for us is that although we have
been weak in certain areas and in certain parts our play in general we
feel as a team we've played well enough and are strong enough to be
midtable or slightly above.
"There is much more room for improvement and the test will be how
quickly that improvement comes and if we have a little bit of luck along
Ashford Town v Burgess Hill Town
Ryman League Division One
Saturday 29th October 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at The Homelands, Ashford Road, Kingsnorth