MALMESBURY Victoria manager Gareth Davies has said that tomorrow’s clash with Hellenic League Division One West local rivals New College as the biggest game of their season.
As well as being a derby at the Flying Monk Ground, College are directly above Malmesbury, however, there is a 10-point gap between the two side.
And Davies is keen to ensure that the distance between the pair doesn’t increase.
“This is our biggest games of the season,” the Vics boss said. “We need to win to hang on to their coats tails.
“Also with their lads being around the same age as ours I know that my players won’t want to go out and bump into them if they have lost.
“I remember the Highworth-Fairford derbies, not a lot was needed to be said as it was all about the bragging rights.”
Having had to pick up the gloves in last Saturday’s defeat at Tuffley Rovers due to an injury to keeper Joe Snell, Davies has brought in Keiron Shail from Swindon Supermarine as Mike Alexander is also injured.
“At the moment we are not sure how Joe Snell and Mike Alexander are,” Davies said. “So we have brought Keith to cover all possibilities.
“Dave (Webb) said that Keiron needs games, so we are covering our basis. I don’t want to have to go in goal again - it was a horrible experience.”
New College come into this match on the back of a hard-fought draw with high-flying Fairford Town.
With manager Rob Hopkins stepping down from his role with the Hellenic side last week, former boss Mark Teasdale is back in charge.
But New College Academy director Ian Howell, who will also help out with the running of the side, believes that the players should have a stable coaching environment now.
“We have had to juggle a few things around, but I think we should have a stable group of coaches for the three sides that we run,” Howell said.
“Teaser has come back to take charge of the Hellenic side on Saturdays and he will working alongside Gary Clarke and Matt Cosnett.”
New College have no injury concerns ahead of tomorrow’s derby, but with the academy Under 18s side in action against Cirencester academy in morning, Howell is calling on the older players to step up to the plate.
And he has been pleased with how the team have been performing in recent outings.
“We will be trying to play the fact that this is a derby down,” Howell said. “We had a tough game against Fairford on Tuesday and the performance there was fantastic.
“If we can keep performing like that week in, week out then I’m sure that we will be picking up points.”