WOOTTON Bassett boss Dave Turner has rubbished claims that tomorrow’s Division One West clash with league leaders Brimscombe & Thrupp is an effective championship play-off.
Bassett are just four points behind their rivals and have two games in hand ahead of their trip to London Road, making the title race extremely tight.
Rylands Way supremo Turner says he fully expects the battle for top spot to go right to the wire, although he acknowledges three points would hand his team the initiative.
“I don’t think Saturday will be a title decider, but if one team wins it will go a long way to deciding it,” he said.
“Yes, it will certainly have a massive impact but it won’t put us out of it if we lose, and the same for them.
“Whoever wins will take a massive boost from it and it should give them a confidence to go on.
“Until it’s done and dusted and numerically impossible, we will keep chipping away.
“There will be a few twists and turns yet and it will come down to which team holds their nerve.”
Even if they don’t top the standings, Bassett are still well on course for promotion to the Hellenic Premier, the division they were demoted from at the end of the 2010/11 campaign.
Turner’s troops have not played a league game in three weeks and the manager would have preferred to continue the promotion-chasing campaign against a different side.
“I hope we do play but it’s probably not the game I’d have chosen to come back to,” admitted the boss.
“Both sides would rather have got a game under their belts after coming back from a long lay-off.
“I expect there to be some funny results all round the league in the next few weeks because it’s almost like starting the season again.
“Teams who were flying will slip a bit and teams who were struggling will pick up.”
Richie Saunders and Craig Bowden are both suspended tomorrow but otherwise Turner has a full squad at his disposal.
Elsewhere, Cricklade are targeting their first-ever Wiltshire Senior Cup semi-final when they visit Shrewton in a rescheduled clash.
Graham Jackson’s men last made the last eight in the 2004/05 season and now only the Western League Division One strugglers stand in the way of history.
Cricklade are without five first-teamers in suspended duo Gareth Davies and Dane Moulden, Ryan Thomas and Adam O’Bree (both injured), and Lee Hedges and Tom Johnson (work commitments).
Jack Allen will make a return to the bench after damaging his ankle ligaments at the start of January.