The Bulls won their 12th game in succession in Combined Counties League Division I on Saturday to maintain their 100% start in their debut campaign, with a total of 29 players – including 25 different starters – contributing to that run.
Player unavailability and travel restrictions have been as much of an enforcer as tactical rotation for Freeman, although the manager appears to have settled on his core group in recent weeks. That group will be shuffled and slim-lined again this evening, with only 14 flying for away days.
Following a first-round bye in the Division I tournament, the Islanders tackle knockout football for the first time at Dorking Wanderers Reserves, with Adam Trotter, Jules Gabbiadini and Fraser Barlow – all substitutes on Saturday against Walton & Hersham – set to move back into the starting XI.
Freeman said: ‘We’ve said the three lads who came on on Saturday will start.
‘There are selection headaches week in week out and it is the hardest part, there are a lot of talented players on this Island.
‘It is hard to keep everyone happy, no one likes not playing but it is the nature of it. I am the one who has to make the choices, I try to do it in the right way and I’m not popular sometimes.’
Bulls, who won 1-0 at Springfield on Saturday, have scored 47 goals in their opening 12 league games to set themselves on a direct path to promotion.
More in Tuesday’s JEP.