PURTON manager Justin Miller doesn’t want to be forced into lacing up his boots again too often this season after slipping back into a red shirt as his side took on Shortwood United Reserves on Saturday.

The former Swindon Supermarine striker, who has also previously had spells as a player at the Red House, was forced to fill in up front for Purton in Gloucestershire but couldn’t prevent his team slipping to a 3-1 defeat.

Ben Carter levelled the clash at 1-1 after Shortwood had taken the lead but the home side netted early in the second period before killing off any hope of a Purton comeback with a late third.

“We have four players away and that took away a few guys from our attack and our midfield so I had to play up front,” said Miller.

“(Playing) definitely isn’t the plan for me this season but because we were missing so many guys, it’s what I had to do.

“I thought that it was a pretty good game. They went ahead and then after we got an equaliser, we had lots of chances to get another.

“We hit the post and hit the bar, and their keeper also had a blinder to keep it to 1-1 at half-time. They got a second and then we were having all the chances again until they caught us on the break when we were chasing another equaliser.

“It’s my first loss as manager and it was disappointing but I don’t get too down when we lose and I don’t get too excited when we win games.”

Purton have notched up two victories and a defeat from their opening three matches and looking at the early-season picture in the Hellenic League Division One West, Miller is expecting a hugely competitive division this term.

The Red House chief said: “I think it’s going to be a really exciting league this year. If you look at it now, nobody has got a 100 per cent record yet.

“I think that North Leigh (United), who we beat in our first game, were the best side that we’ve played and everybody seems to be beating everybody.

“There probably will be five or six teams that will pull away towards the top but I still think that there’s every chance that it could be a really exciting season.”

Purton are back at the Red House next weekend as they host Oxfordshire outfit Hook Norton.