HELLENIC LEAGUE: Hopkins aims to keep College boys grounded
IF NEW College defeat Fairford tomorrow, the students will be more than half way to beating their points total from the last Hellenic League season.
In a difficult 2012/13 campaign, the students managed just 19 points in 30 Division One West fixtures, but this time round they have taken seven points from the opening four games.
Their latest triumph was a 2-1 victory over North Leigh reserves in which Joey Hiscock and Dave Kinuthia struck the all-important goals.
College were due to lose their captain Ben Wells to Shrivenham last night, but Rob Hopkins’ side have proved of late that they are far from a one-man team.
Nevertheless, boss Hopkins has warned his team that the league season is in its infancy and that a good first few weeks do not equal a strong campaign.
“It’s a good start but we’re not getting carried away, it’s a question of a week at a time,” said Hopkins.
“Yes, we are happy with our start, but I don’t take much notice of the league table after four games.
“The lads are buzzing at the fact that they are playing well and what we’ve done in the four games we’ve played so far.
“But it’s definitely a case of keeping them as grounded as possible, it’s still a learning experience.”
With Wells last night due to exit, keeper Alex Swatridge has been given the captain’s armband.
Also signed on at Swindon Supermarine, Swatridge was previously vice-captain, but Tim Ogu has now taken that role.
“Al is the older statesman of the side at 19 and is one of the more experienced players,” said Hopkins.
“He’s developed as a goalkeeper and is a lot more vocal than when he first came here.
“It’s a natural progression for him."
College entertain a Fairford side tomorrow that are yet to fulfil their full potential having lost two of their opening three games.
However, Hopkins, who is missing Christy Millar (leg) and Max Slinn (unavailable), expects the Gloucestershire outfit to start racking up the wins soon.
“I think Fairford were most people’s picks to win the league or at least to finish in the top two,” said Hopkins. “They have strengthened their squad and kept a lot of players from last year. Paul Braithwaite is a great manager and they are going to be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.”
Braithwaite could name a full squad as Ash Taylor (facial injury) is keen to make a swift comeback, while skipper Henry Traas came through 20 minutes in the 2-1 defeat against Lydney on Tuesday.
The boss says he is content with performances so far in spite of defeats to Clanfield and Lydney, both of which he believes will finish in the top four.
“I’d be a bit more worried if we had lost by four or five, but we have had a bad start with injuries and have still been in games,” he said.
“We’re not worried.
“I’m sure people will be raising their eyebrows and wondering what’s going on at Fairford, but we’re calm.”
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